Man accused of sexually assaulting inmates at Baxter County jail

Great Seal of Arkansas in a court room in Washington County. Thursday, June 21, 2018,

A Mountain Home man faces felony sexual assault charges after, officials say, he touched Baxter County jail inmates inappropriately in the guise of off-the-books “breast examinations.”

Samuel Sparks, 39, of Mountain Home surrendered to the jail Thursday afternoon after a warrant was issued for his arrest Tuesday, according to a Thursday news release from Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery.

Sparks was fired last month from his job as a nurse at the jail. Since his hiring on Jan. 25, 2022, Sparks mainly provided nursing care and dispensed prescribed medication, the release says.

An inmate filed a complaint on Aug. 4 stating that Sparks had inappropriate sexual contact with her, leading investigators to speak to three current or former inmates about Sparks’ behavior, the release says. More than one of them accused Sparks of improper sexual contact, the release says.

On Aug. 7, investigators interviewed Sparks, who said he conducted what he called breast examinations of several female inmates at their request, the release says. He denied that any other acts took place, and reportedly said that the examinations were part of his duties as the jail’s nurse.

One woman did tell investigators that she requested a breast exam from Sparks, but investigators determined that no one else was present during the supposed examinations and that he did not record them in medical logs. There was no written evidence that any of the women requested the examinations, the release says.

Jail officials fired Sparks on the day of that interview, the release says. The investigative file was sent to the prosecutor, resulting in the charges filed earlier this week.

Sparks posted a $5,000 bond and was released from jail Thursday, the release says. He is scheduled to appear in circuit court in Baxter County on Monday.