Family accuses grandfather of sexual abuse; says local prosecutor will not file charges
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
A Fort Smith family is experiencing what they term as "one of the worst years of their lives" after allegations sixteen months ago that one of their family members molested their daughter.
Joshua and Mary Parker say they cannot get justice in the case because the local prosecuting attorney refuses to file charges against 66-year-old Allen Wayne Parker, a former police officer with the Fort Smith Police Department from 1986-1991. Parker had also been a deputy with the Franklin County Sheriff Office.
"We feel an obligation to share our truth as one of caution for other parents, but also to get our story out there as the criminal justice system has done an abysmal job of fighting for the rights of sexually abused children," said Joshua Parker.
"Sixteen months ago, one of our daughters was brave enough to come to my wife and me and told us about the sexual abuse that she was enduring at the hands of my father," Parker said . "What she shared with us over the coming days, weeks, and months as she continued to feel comfortable was absolutely heart wrenching and disgusting."
Parker said his daughter shared "things a child would never be able to graphically articulate unless they had endured it".
Parker said eventually his other daughters came forward with similar allegations. One said she had been touched inappropriately by Allen Parker, while another reported after the fact that she had seen her grandfather spying on her while she was in the shower.
The youngest daughter, two at the time, "squirmed and cried uncomfortably at simple diaper changes", according to Joshua Parker.
Parker says he confronted his father soon after the original disclosure and was greeted with a shocking response.
"Instead of wondering what was said or who said it, my father became enraged immediately when I told him one of our daughters said he touched her, his reply was 'I’ll punch your f****** face in. How dare you believe your daughter over me!'”
Joshua Parker said his father said he was a big enough man that he "would admit if I had done something like that” but then immediately asked if he needed a lawyer.
"Not one time did he show any compassion or an emotion other than pure rage", said Joshua Parker.
Parker said when the first daughter made the allegations, he contacted the Child Maltreatment Hotline and reported the sexual abuse. He made another call to the hotline after the second daughter came forth with her allegations.
"Several family members were contacted by Mary and I later and three more victims came forward with similar stories of sexual abuse dating back several decades," said Joshua Parker. "They also went to the police immediately with this information. The prosecuting attorney did nothing with this information."
Joshua Parker said their own investigation turned up allegations of sexual harassment of a convenience store clerk while employed by the FSPD and allegations he sexually abused a minor while he worked for the Franklin County Sheriff’s office.
In total, three more children and two adults have made allegations against Allen Parker.
Joshua Parker claims a prosecutor reviewing the case made the statement that "it didn’t matter how many people came forward, they would not press charges."
"I went to the Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney’s office to meet with them and was left waiting in the waiting area for an hour with no one coming to speak with me," said Parker. "I was able to get a meeting with the Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney, Chief Deputy PA, and two other deputy prosecuting attorneys. I was told that at best they would get a hung jury and that 'putting your children through that will only result in more trauma'.”
Joshua said he is convinced his father is a pedophile and he doesn't want any other families to have to endure what his family has endured.
"What about the other victims? What about future victims? What about the fact he lives just a few hundred yards from an elementary school?"
Parker says the local prosecuting attorney will only press charges if they are sure they are going to win the case, and are not concerned with attempting to get people like his father off the streets.
"They have that 90% conviction rate to protect," said Joshua Parker. They also made the statement if they pressed charges and Allen Parker was found not guilty 'what would that news headline look like?'".
Allen Parker lost his job with the FSPD in 1991 after admitting to stealing property that had been seized from Alamo by federal law enforcement officials. The goods were supposed to be auctioned off to raise money to help satisfy a $1.8 million judgment against Alamo brought by former followers.
Alamo's denim jackets, often dotted with rhinestones and sequins, were in demand at the time, fetching hundreds of dollars each.
Parker had been hired to guard the warehouse where the goods were being stored. Instead, he took some of the jackets, jeans, shoes and other apparel, items that he planned to give to his family members, law enforcement officials said.
After his guilty plea, the elder Parker was sentenced to three years' probation and a $1,000 fine as well as "an undetermined term of home confinement and five weekends of intermittent confinement."
Allen Parker was among dozens of individuals who received a presidential pardon in the waning days of the Barack Obama administration, so none of his court files are available for review.
A former co-worker of Allen Parker's at the FSPD said Parker "was a bad dude in a lot of ways" but that he would have never suspected him of being a pedophile.
"The guy had a lot of flaws, both as a person and an officer and some of the stuff about sexual harassment allegations was pretty common knowledge back in the day," said the retired officer, who asked not to be identified. "I never heard anything about him being inappropriate with kids though."
Joshua said Allen Parker worked as a truck driver after his dismissal from the FSPD and traveled all over the country.
"I'm concerned that there are other victims out there," said Parker. "If anyone out there has experienced abuse at the hands of this man, I implore them to come forth and contact law enforcement."
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