After a day and a half presenting the case, an Arkansas County man was found guilty of rape after only 34 minutes deliberation on Friday in Cleburne County. According to an affidavit, Rodney Rayburn, 38, of Humphrey and his family had come to Heber Springs Dam Site camping in July, 2015. While there Rayburn took the victim into the showers and forced her to perform oral sex. The victim disclosed that this had been going on for over a year.
When the victim came forward on July 14, 2015 a medical exam was done and it was found that she had injury due to acute sexual trauma.
Cleburne County was not notified of the incidents until June 2016. At that time Detective Jenifer Osborn opened an investigation and found that Rayburn had also been charged in Arkansas and Jefferson counties for incidents that occurred in those counties. Rayburn has been found guilty of rape and attempted rape in Arkansas County as well. Because of those convictions, Rayburn was sentenced under enhanced guidelines in Cleburne County. He received a sentence of life without possibility of parole.
“It was a detailed forensic investigations which disclosed a horrific pattern of sexual abuse, that was a ‘dirty little secret’,” Prosecuting Attorney Holly Meyer said in closing arguments.
Det. Osborn was happy with the verdict and said, “Don’t come to Cleburne County to sexually abuse children because we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
The affidavit also stated that when arrested by law enforcement Rayburn refused to answer questions or make a statement but did not deny the allegations to CACD investigators. While incarcerated he continues to try to make contact with the victim and her two brothers, despite restrictions. The brothers were able to corroborate the shower at Dam Site incident because they were sent to the other showers by Rayburn so he could be alone with the victim.
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Drew Smith assisted Meyer in the trying of the case and according to Meyer, “did an excellent job.” Meyer also praised Det. Osborn for her work on this case and others in Cleburne County. Meyer and the victim spoke after the trial and Meyer told the victim now she could move forward and put this behind her. The victim hugged and thanked Meyer for all she did.
One of the jurors spoke to The Sun TImes briefly about the case and stated, “The prosecution had a solid case. It was a rough case for all involved and I feel we did the right thing.”