62-year-old man accused of raping girl in ice cream truck out on bond
William Leon Bardin (Source: Baxter Co. Sheriff's Office)
The ice cream truck William Leon Bardin drove and in which investigators say he raped a young victim. (Source: Baxter County Sheriff's Office)
COTTER, AR (KAIT) - A 62-year-old Region 8 man arrested on rape charges is out on bond.
According to officials at the Baxter County Jail, on Oct. 8 William Leon Bardin was released on $50,000 bond.
The Baxter County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said he will appear in court again Dec. 12.
Bardin was arrested at his home on County Road 174 in Cotter on Sept. 23, Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said.
His arrest followed a two-week long investigation by the sheriff's office and Arkansas State Police (ASP). Police say he was caught on tape telling the victim "it would never happen again."
The victim, who is a young woman, told investigators Bardin had molested her since she was 5 or 6 years old, Montgomery stated in a news release.
The woman said the molestation occurred over a period of years at the home and in the ice cream truck Bardin drives in neighborhoods throughout the area.
During the course of the investigation, Montgomery said investigators arranged for the victim to wear a miniature recording device and meet with Bardin.
At that meeting Bardin reportedly admitted to "deviate sexual activity" with the victim when she was a child and "promised it would never happen again," according to the report.
Sheriff's deputies and investigators with ASP's Crimes Against Children's Division and the Department of Human Services went to Bardin's home and took him into custody without incident.
Bardin's wife, Robin, and 10 children who lived in the home were also interviewed.
The sheriff said Robin Bardin "admitted to investigators that the victim had come to her with the allegations approximately 2 years earlier but stated she did not believe the victim and did not report the allegation to law enforcement or the Child Abuse Hotline."
KAIT dug deeper and found that Bardin has been around a lot of children. He held a position with a non-profit group, Forever Families of Baxter County.
The investigation is continuing with more interviews scheduled.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the sheriff's office at (870) 425-7000.
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