Second jury sentences man to 30 years for child sex abuse

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The second jury to hear the case of a Texarkana, Ark., man accused of child sexual abuse convicted him of all charges and handed down a 30-year sentence Wednesday.

Jared Allen Harper, 36, was first tried for rape, second-degree sexual assault a sexual indecency with a child before a Miller County jury last year. Circuit Judge Brent Haltom declared a mistrial in the case after the first jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

Harper’s second jury trial began Monday. Wednesday afternoon the jury found him guilty of all charges. Harper was sentenced to six years for indecency, 10 years for second-degree sexual assault and 30 years for rape. All of the sentences will run at the same time. Harper must serve 70 percent of his time for rape before he can be considered for parole.

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The girl, now 14, first disclosed the abuse to her older brother, now 18, when she was 11. The brother told their mother who told a pastor who contacted authorities.

The girl testified that Harper began touching her inappropriately when she was 6 or 7 and that he described his abuse of her as “daddy time.” Early in 2017, before Harper’s first trial, the victim recanted the allegations. She later reaffirmed the allegations and said she was urged to recant by her mother who told her the family would suffer without Harper’s financial support.

Harper’s defense attorneys, Jason Horton of Texarkana and Jeff Rosenzweig of Little Rock, told the jury that the victim and her older brother made up the allegations because they did not like Harper, who is the father of their two younger half brothers.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Connie Mitchell and Kristian Robertson argued that the girl was telling the truth and that the recantation was the result of pressure from her mother.

Harper was taken into custody and transported to the Miller County jail following the trial. He will be held there until he is transported to a unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction.

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