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77-year-old Bella Vista man accused of sexually assaulting girls

by Staff Report | July 25, 2016 at 4:37 p.m.

BELLA VISTA — A Bella Vista man was arrested Friday by Bella Vista Police in connection with two counts of rape and four counts of second-degree sexual assault.

John Clifford Longnecker, 77, was being held in the Benton County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bond Monday.

Longnecker is accused of inappropriately touching four girls over a period of years.

Police began an investigation after the parents and stepparents of some of the children reported one of the girls was watching a movie when she said to a sister, “That kinda looks like when John touches us on the bottom,” according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Benton County Circuit Court by Lt. Barb Shrum.

The mother called the father, who lives in Bella Vista, to report what the girls told her. The girl lives elsewhere in Arkansas. The father called the police.

He said when they moved into their home, they were befriended by Longnecker and his wife. Longnecker would have the children over to help him in the garden as well as to play games on his cellphone.

The children were interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County on Thursday.

The court document states the girls all reported similar instances of being touched while either sitting on a couch in the man’s home or on an orange bucket in the back yard. They used anatomically correct dolls to re-enact the actions, according to the court document.

Longnecker, when confronted with the accusations during an interview with police, said “my life’s over,” according to the court documents. In a follow-up interview, he told police of situations matching what the girls reported, according to the affidavit.

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