Miller County jury acquits man in child sex abuse case

Miller County Courthouse
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A man accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl was acquitted Tuesday by a Miller County jury.

Tarrell Parks, 35, testified that he often gave rides to the girl’s mother while he worked as a taxi driver in 2017. Parks said he never touched the alleged victim and had her in the back of his cab only once when she accompanied her mother.

Department of Child and Family Services case manager Rachel Speights testified that she became involved in the case after the girl’s mother called the Texarkana, Ark., Fire Department and told them she could no longer care for her daughter and wanted to give her up. The fire department contacted child welfare officials.

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Speights said she contacted the Arkansas State Police child abuse hotline because the girl’s mother said the girl had been sexually abused by Parks. Speights testified that the girl’s mother was “erratic” and admitted to using meth and cocaine. The apartment where the girl was living with her mother in Texarkana, Ark., had no running water, Speights said.

Speights said the girl “begged” her to take her from the home. The girl was interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Texarkana and made an outcry of abuse against Parks. She claimed he pushed her up against the kitchen counter and then sexually assaulted her on the floor.

Because of the length of time between the alleged assault and the report made to law enforcement, there was no chance of collecting physical evidence, such as DNA, from the girl’s body or from clothing, Texarkana, Ark., Police Department Investigator David Parker testified.

Texarkana attorney Josh Potter argued that there was too much reasonable doubt in the case for a conviction. Deputy Prosecutors Kristian Robertson and Connie Mitchell argued that the testimony of the alleged victim alone is enough to convict under Arkansas law.

At the end of the trial, Circuit Judge Brent Haltom thanked the jury for their service and Parks walked out of the courthouse a free man.

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