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story.lead_photo.caption Mario Perea-Lopez Jr.

An Arkansan already registered as a sex offender was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday after a new conviction of attempted sexual assault, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Mario Lopez Perea Jr., 37, of Centerton was found guilty by a jury Tuesday but he was found not guilty of second-degree sexual assault. Perea was arrested in February after a woman told authorities a man had touched her then-16-year-old daughter inappropriately at a bus stop in Gravette, according to the newspaper.

The girl, who is now 17, reportedly testified Tuesday the man had waved at her from his car, then approached her and introduced himself. He hugged her and tried to lift up her shirt before she stopped him and got away, she said.

Perea denied touching her inappropriately, telling jurors that he had given her a half-hug and "told her to stay in school," the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Circuit Judge Brad Karren sentenced Perea after the jury recommended the 20-year term.

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