Paragould man’s rape conviction overturned; new trial ordered

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 11:04 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2022 at 1:50 PM CDT
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PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - The Arkansas Court of Appeals has reversed a Paragould man’s rape conviction.

In June of 2021, a Greene County jury sentenced Santiago Vasquez, Jr. to 25 years in prison after convicted him of five counts of rape involving a child.

Paragould police arrested Vasquez in 2019 after they said the victim “provided graphic details of at least five different incidents involving deviate sexual activity.”

Vasquez’s attorneys appealed the sentence saying the circuit court “abused its discretion in allowing the sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), designated a lay witness by the State, to present expert testimony.”

The appeals court agreed, stating in its decision that the nurse’s “erroneously admitted expert opinions… impacted and effected [sic] the jury’s credibility finding.”

The court remanded Vasquez for a new trial.

To read the full court’s opinion, click here.