Felon facing weapons charges now accused of sexually assaulting child

Felon facing weapons charges now accused of sexually assaulting child
Francisco Cordova (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Less than a week after he appeared before a judge on gun charges, a Jonesboro man was back in court, accused of sexually abusing a child.

Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division began investigating claims of child abuse at a home in the 200-block of Nisbett in June.

The Jonesboro Police Department arrested Irasema Arzola on June 25 after a sawed-off shotgun and handgun were found inside the home. She told police her live-in boyfriend, Francisco Cordova, had no knowledge of the weapons.

Six days later, Cordova appeared in court on the weapons charges, after witnesses told police Cordova actually owned them. Cordova, who is a felon, was charged with possession of a firearm by certain persons; criminal use of a prohibited weapon; theft by receiving a firearm valued at less than $2,500; and possession of drug paraphernalia.

At that time, no arrests were made in connection with the claims of child abuse.

In early July, Gilbert Garcia was arrested in relation to the investigation, after two children in the home said he put a knife to them. Garcia appeared in Craighead County District Court July 5.

On July 6, Cordova appeared before a judge again, this time, accused of sexual assault.

A probable cause affidavit states a Jonesboro detective observed an interview in which three children told authorities that Cordova, who lives with them, touched an 8-year-old boy's genital area through his clothes.

"During the interviews, it was discovered Francisco has done this multiple times and holds the 8 year old down while he touches his genital area through the clothes," court documents state. "The 8 year old juvenile advised Francisco had bit him on the lip causing an injury."

The 8-year-old's family members noticed the injury to his lip.

A judge found probable cause to charge Cordova with sexual assault in the 2nd degree and domestic battering.

If convicted of the felony sexual assault charge, Cordova could face a fine of no more than $15,000 and/or 5 to 20 years in prison.

Cordova, who was already behind bars on a $25,000 cash-only bond on the weapons charges, was given a $35,000 cash-only bond Thursday.

His next court date for both the weapons and sexual assault charges is scheduled for July 31.

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