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Contact: Karen Brandford, Chief Ranger, 870/365-2740
On July 21, 2013, rangers received a report of the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl at Ozark Campground during the Memorial Day weekend. An NPS special agent was notified and an investigation was begun.
The investigation revealed that the victim, accompanied by her father, younger sister, older brother, a male friend of the older brother, and the suspect traveled to the park for a weekend camping and float trip. During the course of the trip, the suspect forcibly fondled the victim three times inside a tent over a two day period.
The girl had begun contacting the suspect via Facebook and text messages, confronting him with the incidents. Buffalo National River Law Enforcement Specialist coordinated with state police and the Child Advocacy Center during interviews with the girl and her sister and followed up with interviews and investigation along with the agent.
On August 13, 2013, the suspect was arrested by rangers, an agent, and federal marshals from the US Marshal's Office. He was charged with three counts of sexual assault of a minor. During an interview with NPS investigators, the suspect confessed to the acts.
On February 18th, the convicted individual was sentenced to 30 months in prison and five years supervisedrelease, ordered to pay nearly $10,000 in restitution to the victim, and registered as a sex offender.
The National Park Service was assisted by the Newton County Sheriff's Office, Bentonville Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Child Advocacy Center of Benton County Arkansas, and the United States Attorney's Office, Fort Smith. Investigative Services Branch conducted the forensics electronic analysis and AUSA Kyra Jenner was the prosecutor for the offenses.