There appears to have been a variety of arrests of police officers on criminal offenses throughout the country in the past few years. Some of the arrests were for participation in drug trafficking operations, while others were related to sex offenses, including sexual assault and contact with minors. These types of cases have also been ongoing in Arkansas.
Recently, state police arrested a 25-year-old male who was formerly employed by both the England police department and the Arkansas Highway Patrol. They charged him with having sexual contact with a minor female. The offense reportedly took place earlier this year, but no details have been released.
The Lonoke County prosecutor, who is handling the investigation, stated that more charges could be added. Reporters apparently questioned England residents, who expressed shock at the arrest. However, at this point it is premature to make conclusions about guilt or innocence. Conclusions of guilt prior to trial is inimical to the system that promises a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. Additionally, if there is proof of commission of a criminal violation, the degree of severity could range from severe to minimal.
Criminal defense counsel must make a thorough assessment of the facts and the available evidence. The defendant's side of the story must be heard, investigated and evaluated. There is always a potential factor of false charges in a sex offenses case due to possible manipulations by a minor complainant for satisfaction of a personal agenda.
Although such defenses may be actually present in only a small number of cases, defense counsel must give the accused a vigorous defense and must fully check out all claimed scenarios. In every prosecution, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the criminal offense. For sexual assault and sexual contact with a minor, several separate elements of proof must be proved by credible evidence. If the charges are true and the defendant expresses the intent to plead guilty, a different strategy, centering on negotiations and rehabilitative treatment, is indicated under Arkansas law and procedure.
Source: arkansasmatters.com, "Former England Police Officer Arrested for Sexual Contact with Minor", Isabella Moller, Dec. 14. 2015