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How an Arkansas prosecutor helped his uncle Barry Walker escape child abuse charges

“The Most False Claim in History”

Two years after Bradford challenged Batson’s charges for a four-year-old girl in 2014, Walker, through his own business, is located on a dead-end road directly across the highway from his family’s enclave in suburban Glenwood. Purchased 5 acres of secluded land. Property records are displayed.

After that, he built a huge warehouse with a residence on top of it and lived there.

In 2018, Bradford called for Walker’s name to be removed from the Arkansas sex offender registry, writing that he met the necessary criteria: more than 15 years after being released from custody, Less likely to pose a threat to others.of formal letter accompany it petition When Walker was sent to the Sebastian County prosecutor’s office where he was convicted in 2000, Bradford identified himself as an assistant prosecutor.

Bradford’s claim that Walker was not dangerous “may be the most false claim ever made in an Arkansas lawsuit,” the victims’ lawsuit later said.

In response to Bradford’s petition, the state called for Walker to be reassessed as a sex offender. Walker failed a state-mandated polygraph test in 2019, and after the risk assessment administrator considered various allegations and investigations, Walker’s community notification status should actually be raised. announced the results.

Mr. Bradford lashed out at the administrator’s discovery. Letter of December 2019. She disputed that no allegations were documented in 2004, claiming that “all other alleged investigations were baseless.”

“There is no evidence to support Walker’s increased level of community reporting,” Bradford added, adding that since his release from custody in 2000, he has been “supporting the economy, supporting society,” and “productive.” claimed to be a citizen. It provides employment for many people in the area. ”

To strengthen her argument, Bradford pointed out that Walker had already gone through a private polygraph given to him in 2014, report From a polygraph examiner. He reportedly asked Walker only two questions related to touching the girl who accused him.

The state commission, which reviewed the administrator’s findings at Bradford’s request, upheld Walker’s heightened sex offender status in 2020, according to records.

According to Bradford’s attorney, Kacinelli, the work Bradford performed on Walker’s behalf was done “in a capacity of personal counsel” and was “a routine matter handled by attorneys on behalf of their clients in jurisdictions across the country.” was also included.”

“There is no basis to suggest that it made her responsible for the actions of others,” Kacinelli said in an email.

Inner Ring of Walkers Fallout

Bradford’s mother and uncle allege that two more girls were sexually abused by Walker by her cousin Brandi Cox by early May last year, according to the complaint. It is said that he found out that

None of them reported the allegations to law enforcement because “Barry reported political influence on Mr. Jana Bradford’s chances of being elected prosecutor,” according to the complaint, but Bradford He does not claim to have been directly involved in these conversations.

About two and a half weeks after Bradford won the bipartisan prosecutor’s election, Cox took two girls to state police to file charges against Walker.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for his home and warehouse, where they found a hard drive containing videos and photographs, a bag of cocaine, and seven firearms, including two fully automatic submachine guns. .

Officers found most of the incriminating items in a horse trailer parked outside Walker’s home. Affidavit of Presumed Cause state. Police investigator Jon Jones, who is leading the criminal investigation, said Walker may have been on “high alert” in the police search after at least one family member told him about the girls’ allegations. Stated.

After Walker’s arrest, Cox admitted to investigators that he had received a call that one of the girls had been sexually abused by Walker six years earlier, but that Cox had not acted on the allegations. . Affidavit of Presumed Cause for Cox’s arrest. Cox said after Walker told her other family members about the girls’ recent accusations, he threatened to arrest her, saying, “I want her home, $10,000 and other considerations to keep her from going to the police.” provided to,” he added. affidavit Said.

Despite this, Cox agreed to continue allowing the two girls to stay overnight alone with Walker, the affidavit said.

In December, Cox was indicted on felony charges of permitting child sexual abuse. Cox did not respond to messages seeking comment for this article.

Barry Walker’s younger brother, Bryce Walker, was also charged in March with a misdemeanor charge for failing to report suspected child abuse as a school district employee. court record show.

Bryce Walker’s criminal defense attorney, Sherry Hogan Koehler, said her client was innocent, adding: “We look forward to the day we can prove it in court.”

Investigators also arrested Barry Walker’s ex-girlfriend and employee, Lori Cogburn.

according to Affidavit of Presumed Cause In Cogburn’s case, a four-year-old girl told investigators in 2014 that Cogburn “came close to Barry Walker sexually assaulting her.” According to her affidavit, Cogburn did not report it to authorities and immediately allowed another girl to spend the night alone with Walker.

Cogburn’s attorney, Michael M. Harrison, said in an email that he “strongly denied” the criminal and civil allegations against Cogburn, calling them “baseless and demonstrably false.”

“She had no knowledge of Mr. Walker’s criminal conduct regarding child abuse,” Harrison’s email said, adding that Mr. Cogburn said no child “is in a position to be harmed by him or anyone else.” I didn’t allow myself to be put down,” he added.

Bradford’s mother, Joyce Purser, has not been charged, but was named in the victims’ lawsuit but did not respond to a request for comment.

Purser’s attorney, Jeffrey Elliott, cited the motion to dismiss her as a defendant, arguing that the lawsuit did not provide evidence to support the allegations against her and pushed the blame on Walker’s family. .

“If law enforcement did not foresee Walker’s future actions, how could they impose a liability on Joyce Purser,” the motion states.

Barry Walker (left) rode in Glenwood, Arkansas with two girls last year before he was arrested. He was in charge of the equestrian arena for a local exposition.Courtesy: Howard Green

“The Most Prolific Opportunist”

Investigators believe there are many more victims besides the 31 children Walker admitted to sexually assaulting. He has lived in several other parts of Arkansas, participated in military training, or lived in at least three other states.

“Ultimately, Barry Walker will be the most prolific opportunist of domestic rapists,” Jones said, adding that the criminal investigation remains “extremely unsolved.”

At least six of the victims in the video have not yet been identified, according to Clark County Prosecutor Dan Turner. He said some of the victims were sedated when Walker assaulted them and didn’t know they had been raped until investigators contacted them.

“How can you tell a 28-year-old woman that she was raped when she was 12?” Turner asked when discussing the task investigators faced. “And we know you were raped because we have the video, but you just don’t know it because you were unconscious.”

Walker and his agent, Bradford, have maintained for years that they did not reoffend, but evidence shows that Walker did not stop raping young girls after his initial arrest in Fort Smith in 1999. It is shown that. In fact, one of Walker’s convictions continues to the end. In this year, in 1997, a girl’s rape footage was recorded on his VHS cassette.

Mr. Turner, the special prosecutor tasked with overseeing all cases involving Mr. Walker, including those in the Bradford district due to a confrontation with her, told NBC that, to his knowledge, the police said it took seriously allegations of sexual abuse that occurred in the years prior to Walker’s arrest. However, “there are some that the evidence has failed to corroborate.”

Turner said Walker was eventually convicted of molesting four girls between 2004 and 2014 based on videos discovered last year, an allegation deemed unsubstantiated at the time. It is said that it was done.

Jones added that Walker was smart, sophisticated and at times charming.

“He’s an aeronautical surgeon, got through medical school, and ran several successful businesses,” he said. “No one should underestimate his intelligence.”

After Walker’s arrest, Ms Jones said Walker said she passed a private polygraph test involving a four-year-old in 2014 because the inspector “asked the wrong questions”.

Since Walker’s conviction, local media outlets have reported, including a series of revelations on state political blogs. blue hog reportkeep Bradford in the spotlight as their hometown faces scandal.

“Prosecutors have a duty to prosecute crimes against children,” says Howard “Buddy” Greene. He spent most of his 63 years in Glenwood. Glenwood is a town of 2,200 people, and “everyone knows everyone,” he says.

“My guess is that she was trying to take care of her family and thought she was strong enough to make that happen,” Green speculated.

Mr. Green, who argued that Mr. Bradford should be removed from office, was among the locals who said they had issued statements about Mr. Bradford to the FBI and the state attorney general’s office in recent months. Others filed individual complaints with the Arkansas Department of Justice Professional Conduct Commission, alleging that she filed false and misleading legal records regarding Walker or improperly defended him on his behalf. said to have submitted Neither agency has confirmed whether they are investigating.

A lawyer for Bradford, who is a member of the state judiciary’s ethics committee, said “anyone can file a complaint” with the commission. However, Bradford has never been disciplined and has no pending action.

“MS. Mr. Bradford has not violated his ethical obligations and any inference that Mr. Bradford is being reprimanded by the Ethics Committee is false,” she said.

In an email, Kacinelli also said Bradford had “deep sympathy for the victims of Barry Walker”, adding that he, like others in the community, “did not commit despicable acts towards (his) children.” I was astonished to learn that,” he claimed.

Boy No. 20, now 22, said he first learned he had been raped last year after reading about Walker’s arrest and contacting investigators, who said investigators said he had been raped in videos and photos seized from his home. I was told that it was reflected.

Now, with ongoing investigation into how Walker became one of Arkansas’ most prolific pedophiles, those who have remained silent for years are finally courageous. I hope to step into the light and hold him accountable for all that made him possible.

“If you have other girls, I think you should come forward,” she said. “It’s safe now.”

Correction: (May 13, 2023 at 12:57 PM ET) An earlier version of this article had the attorney’s middle initial incorrect. His name is Michael M. Harrison, not Michael W. Harrison.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/arkansas-prosecutor-barry-walker-avoid-child-abuse-charges-rcna83390 How an Arkansas prosecutor helped his uncle Barry Walker escape child abuse charges

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