The Fayetteville man arrested Wednesday at a local motel with a 15-year-old missing girl has been arrested at least twice before in child sex cases, according to court records.
Jimmie Doyle Capehart, 21, was arrested by the Fayetteville Police Department after being found at a Fayetteville Motel 6 with a missing 15-year old girl, officials said. He received probation in a 2010 child sex case and a two-year prison term in another case involving an underage girl the next year, according to court documents.
When the teen went missing, police learned she might be with Capehart, according to a preliminary arrest report from the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Police went to his residence at 1295 Van Asche Drive where he was registered as a sex offender and discovered he wasn’t living there anymore, the report states, but was “staying wherever he could.”
According to police, the girl was found at the Motel 6 at 2980 N. College Ave. with Capehart. The suspect admitted to having sexual relations with the teen and said it was consensual, the report states. Capehart said he had sex with her about 10 times, including before he knew she was 15 and after he knew she was 15, the report states.
Police said Capehart met the Fayetteville girl at a party, but would not say where the party was or when it took place.
Capehart was booked on suspicion of felony 4th-degree sexual assault and felony failure to register as a sex offender.
According to state statute 5-14-127, a person commits 4th-degree sexual assault if the victim is under 16 years old.
Capehart’s arraignment was scheduled for April 14. His bond was set at $10,000, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
The teenager has been returned to her family, authorities said.
Capehart is a Level 2 registered after being convicted in 2010 of raping a 12-year-old girl, police said. Arkansas ranks registered sex offenders from Level 1 (low risk) to Level 4 (sexually violent predator). A Level 2 sex offender is considered a moderate risk, according to the Arkansas Crime Information Center.
Capehart pleaded guilty in November 2010 to sexual indecency of a child, in connection with his sexual relations with the 12-year-old girl. He was sentenced to six years probation. Police said he violated his probation a few months later by contacting another underage girl, after which he was sentenced to two years in state prison, according to court documents.
He was also ordered to undergo sex offender counseling, although court records do not show him ever attending any sessions.
Family members told 5NEWS Capehart is a good man and had no intention of hurting the victims.
“He is not dangerous at all. He’s a guy with a caring heart and who cares if he is in a relationship,” said the suspect’s cousin.
Capehart’s mother, Shannon Capehart, said her son and the 15-year old girl were in a committed relationship and that the teenager ran away from home because she is pregnant with Capehart’s child.
“She was scared. She was afraid of what her parents might do,” Shannon Capehart said. “And in his eyes, he was taking care of her and protecting her.”
Police said the suspect was not living at the house designated to probation authorities as his home.
“You can’t keep track of all sex offenders all the time,” said Brad Cazort from the Arkansas Crime and Information Center. “They aren’t required by law to have ankle monitors or anything like that on them.”
As a Level 2 sex offender, Capehart would have been checked on by authorities once every six months, Cazort said.
“Sex offenders are required to register, and they get assessed. And if they are Level 1, 2 or 3, they need to report back every 6 months to the police department to verify their address. Level 4 offenders have to register every 90 days,” Cazort said.