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Jury finds Bentonville man not guilty of sexual assault

BENTONVILLE — It took a jury just 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon to acquit a Bentonville man accused of sexually assaulting a girl.

Raymond Prince, 45, was found not guilty of second-degree sexual assault, a felony. Prosecutors charged Prince as a habitual offender.

Prince hugged Tom Marks, one of his attorneys, after Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green read the verdict.

“We are grateful that the jury came back with the not-guilty verdict,” Marks said. “We are happy for Mr. Prince and his family, and they can now get back to living their lives.”

Prince cried outside the courtroom because he was overwhelmed the jury listened to the testimony and returned with the not-guilty verdict, Marks said.

Prince was arrested Dec. 29, 2015.

A 17-year-old girl reported in October 2015 that Prince fondled her when she was in the eighth grade, according to a probable cause affidavit. The girl was interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County.

The girl testified at Tuesday’s trial and said Prince touched her inappropriately when she was 13.

Carrie Dobbs, deputy prosecutor, told jurors Prince was in a position of trust and authority over the girl and he violated that trust.

Dobbs asked jurors to remember the girl’s testimony and her description of the abuse. The girl didn’t make up the allegations to get attention, Dobbs said.

Doug Norwood, Prince’s other attorney, told jurors in his closing statements they couldn’t believe the girl’s testimony. Prince was wrongly accused of allegations that dated back years ago, Norwood said.

The jury left the courtroom at 3:30 p.m. to deliberate and was back at 4 p.m. with its verdict.

Doug Norwood

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