Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said on Tuesday that no charges will be filed in the case against a man accused in June of five counts of rape and one count of sexual assault of a minor.
"We are not going to file charges," Hiland said. "It just didn’t happen. We just didn’t have any credible evidence sufficient to file charges."
Lucas Scott Parker, 35, of Conway, was arrested on June 24 for the alleged rape and second-degree sexual assault of a minor female known to him.
According to a police report, the incidents occurred over a span of six years, beginning in 2006.
Additional information on the circumstances of the allegations were not provided in the initial police report, but LaTresha Woodruff, public information officer with the Conway Police Department, said in June the girl told an adult that Parker had sexual contact with her and it was then reported to the Conway Police Department.
Prior to his arrest, Parker was employed at Hendrix College and as a pastor at a local Methodist church.
Conway attorney James Bargar has represented Parker in Faulkner County Circuit Court. Bargar said his client was terminated from both positions shortly after the allegations became public knowledge, essentially "ruining" Parker’s life.
"The allegations have ruined his good name; they have ruined his financial future; and they have ruined his ability to support his children," Bargar said.
Bargar said he and his client want the public to know that the allegations are the "direct result of a nasty divorce," and that his client maintains his innocence.
"He hasn’t ever been formally charged," Bargar said. "But tell that to my client who is wearing an ankle monitor. His bond was set as if he had been charged. He had to enter a plea of ‘not guilty’ as if he had been charged. He hasn’t been charged, but he was terminated from two positions as a direct result of these allegations."
Bargar said Parker and his wife were involved in a domestic incident in June that resulted in allegations that Parker was "a danger to his wife and to their children."
Following the incident, Parker’s wife filed for separate maintenance; Parker countersued for divorce.
A transcript of testimony from a June 11 hearing under Judge David Reynolds shows that the alleged victim testified that aside from "flicking ... and slapping on the head," Parker had not taken "any other physical actions" that she felt were abusive.
Following his arrest, Parker was being held in the county jail without bond.
Judge Reynolds again presided over his arraignment on June 25. Bargar said that he argued "the facts of the case," at the hearing, presenting details surrounding the history of the case.
Following the hearing, Judge Reynolds reduced Parker’s bond to $10,000. Parker posted bond that same day and was released from jail with an ankle monitoring device.
"I know that there are some people out there who get upset with us for waiting to file charges, but that’s what we have to do, and this is why we do it," Hiland said. "The arresting officer in this case didn’t know all of the background. Sometimes we get additional information, and it makes all of the difference."
The case against Parker will likely be dropped at his next pretrial hearing, scheduled for Aug. 7.
"What do you do with your life after that stigma has been placed on you?" Bargar asked. "I just want the public to know that this is a guy who has been wronged. The clearing of his name is as newsworthy as the allegations were."
(Megan Reynolds is a staff writer and can be reached at 505-1277 or email@example.com. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net)