A Crawford County constable is set to be arraigned today in Fort Smith District Court on a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree sexual assault.
Milton R. Hendrix, 60, of Mountainburg, who was elected constable for District 11 in June 2008, was charged on a warrant Friday after police received an Arkansas State Police Child Abuse Hotline report that he abused a 15-year-old girl in Fort Smith.
Fourth-degree sexual assault is a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable by up to one year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
The girl told Fort Smith police detective Tammy De-Mier that Hendrix touched her breasts and genitals and had been touching her inappropriately whenever they were together since she was 5 years old.
Hendrix surrendered to Fort Smith police Monday and was freed from the Sebastian County jail after posting a $5,000 bond.
Contacted Wednesday, Hendrix declined to comment on the charges and whether he was continuing to serve as a constable.
He referred questions to his attorney, Joel Price of Fort Smith, who did not return a call Wednesday evening.
A police report on the Hendrix case said Price contacted investigators before Hendrix surrendered and denied the allegations on Hendrix's behalf.
The Crawford County sheriff 's office received word of Hendrix's arrest from Fort Smith police, Chief Deputy Ron Brown said Wednesday.
Brown said since Hendrix is an elected official, the sheriff's office does not have authority over whether he can continue to serve.
He said he was not sure who, if anyone, had the authority to stop Hendrix from carrying on with his constable duties after being charged.
Crawford County election officials said last year was Hendrix's first run for public office. Election records show Hendrix, a Democrat, finished second in a three-man primary for District 11 constable, which covers a part of the county mainly north of Alma.
In a runoff June 10, 2008, between Hendrix and incumbent Constable Robert Strouss, Hendrix won by one vote, 13 to 12, the records show.
He was unopposed in the general election.