Region 8 Constable Charged with Rape

HARRISBURG, AR -- A Region 8 constable is in jail tonight charged with the rape of a ten year old girl.  65-year-old John Jennings was arrested on the charge of rape which is a Class "Y" felony and if convicted  could have a minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

The arrest happened in Jonesboro, but Jennings was transferred to Poinsett County where police say the crime occurred.

Poinsett County Chief Deputy Chris Holt says the investigation into the alleged rape started back in early November.

"The Sheriff's office was contacted by NEA Medical Center in Jonesboro in reference to a child rape," said Holt.

Officers said the alleged victim is a ten-year-old female and knew the suspect.

"The investigation was opened into the case along with Arkansas Crimes against Children Unit of the Arkansas State Police.  The child went through interviews with a forensic interviewer," said Holt.

The detectives say she also had a physical examination.

"The child was examined by the Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock and following the investigation and examination we applied for a warrant for Mr. Jennings," Holt.

Poinsett County Detective Joey Martin who is working on this case said their investigation shows that the alleged incidents had been taking place for some time.

"That's what is alleged that it started approximately four years ago and continued until recently," said Holt.

Jennings is an elected official.  He started serving his first term as constable of Boliver Township five years ago and is currently into his second term.

His next court date is February 22nd.  At Friday's probable cause hearing the judge gave Jennings a $250,000 bond.