• Dennis McCaslin

Barling man arrested in January for sex crimes taken into custody Friday in Franklin County

A 28-year-old Barling resident was arrested Friday morning on a warrant out of Franklin County and charged with thirty counts of Rape and several counts of Distributing, Viewing or Possessing Matter Depicting Sexual Conduct Involving a Child after systematically grooming and abusing a 13-year old female dating back to late 2020.

Jacob Emile Stevens, who was the subject of a Today in Fort Smith article back on January 4, was already out on a $25,00 bond in Sebastian County for two counts of Sexual Assault and pornography related charges related to the same incidents he was arrested for on Friday. Stevens was arrested because he had the girl, who had been labled as a runaway, in his home located on H. Street in Barling.

After a lengthy investigation involving several agencies, it was determined that the thirteen year-old had met Stevens online and eventually started meeting with him in person. Starting in September of 2020, Stevens is alleged to have engaged in sexual activity with the juvenile at least thirty times.

Franklin County got involved after the investigation revealed Sevens had taken the girl to a rural area in the Fern community in the Ozark National Forest where they engaged in coerced or forced sex on a number of occasions. Police reports indicate they also engaged in sex in Barling at Steven's residence and at the Fort Smith home of Steven's father.

Investigators also located seven nude photos of the teen on a cell phone belonging to Stevens.

We are publishing a highly redacted version of the investigative report by Franklin County on the crimes and arrest:

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