Prosecutors have dropped the sexual assault case against a long-time Conway doctor after a key witness was unable to testify Thursday.
Robert Burl Rook, 64, was accused in 2015 of sexually assaulting some of his female patients. Formal charges were filed in 2016 and a trial was held last year.
The Faulkner County jury that listened to evidence and testimony during the Rook Trial last year ultimately found the long-time doctor not guilty of eight of the 16 charges filed against him and was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining eight counts.
Jason Barrett, who is the special prosecuting attorney appointed to the Rook Case, opted to seek the remaining sexual assault charges and a retrial began Wednesday.
Prosecutors and the defense counsel spent much of the day Wednesday selecting a jury and ended the day with opening statements.
During opening statements, Defense Attorney Patrick Benca defended his client and said the long-time doctor was innocent.
As the trial was scheduled to resume Thursday morning, Barrett ultimately moved to dismiss the case because the key witness "was not in any condition to testify."
While the woman "still stands by her allegations," prosecutors were forced to drop the case against Rook.
Those representing the Conway doctor said they were happy to see Rook be able to carry on with his life following this years-long battle.
"I'm thrilled," Benca said after the case was dismissed. "This has been a long time coming."
Rook began his career in Conway in 1985. After the criminal case against him was dismissed Thursday morning, he and his wife held hands as they walked from the courthouse to their vehicle.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.