A former Fort Smith police officer accused of having sex with a teenager met the girl at a summer church camp, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Billy Rowe, 31, of Bonanza, was a counselor at a church camp in July when he began the relationship with the 16-year-old girl, the affidavit states. The name of the church camp is not revealed in the affidavit.
Rowe did not appear at his arraignment Wednesday (Sept. 18). His attorney, Jered Medlock, waived a formal arraignment and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in Sebastian County Circuit Court.
Rowe was arrested on five felony counts of first-degree sexual assault Tuesday (Sept. 17). He was released the same day on $25,000 bond, according to the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office.
Rowe had sexual intercourse four times with the teen in Sebastian County outside the Fort Smith city limits, the affidavit states.
On another occasion, Rowe, while on duty, performed a “deviate” sex act on the victim within Fort Smith city limits when she was with him participating in the department’s ride-along program, the affidavit states.
The sexual encounters are believed to have begun in July and ended in August, investigators said.
Rowe was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 11, according to a news release from the police department. However, he resigned shortly before being taken into custody, Lindsey said.
The investigation began after an anonymous phone call was made to the police department on Sept. 10.
Police Chief Kevin Lindsey held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to address the officer’s arrest.
According to Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue, each count carries a possible penalty of six to 30 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections and a $15,000 fine.
Rowe had been with the Fort Smith Police Department for about eight years and is married, Lindsey said.
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