BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) —The verdict is in for a Bentonville man charged with raping a 3-year-old child.
The trial for Tristan Tiarks began on Tuesday (Jan. 28) in Benton County Circuit Court in Bentonville. He was found guilty on charges of Rape, Second-Degree Battery and Aggravated Assault on Thursday (Jan. 30).
Tiarks received 30 years for Rape, 10 years for Second-Degree Battery and six years for Aggravated Assault. He will serve all sentences concurrently. He will be eligible for parole after 70% of his time is served.
Tiarks was admitted to the Benton County Jail in January of 2019 with three counts against him. In March, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
"I am grateful that the jury convicted this defendant for preying on a three-year-old girl," said Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith. "Sexual crimes against defenseless children are despicable and our society must never tolerate this kind of evil. My prayer is that this verdict will help the victim heal as she grows older and understands that our community held this man accountable for the crimes he committed against her."
According to the affidavit of probable cause, a nurse at Mercy Medical Hospital in Bella Vista reported a 3-year-old girl was brought to the emergency room with injuries from a suspected sexual assault.
The child's mother told police she left the 3-year-old girl in Tiarks' care at his home while she went to the store for about 45 minutes, court documents state.
The girl said that while her mom was away, Tiarks had strangled her with a towel, gave her "medicine" and says he was "not nice" to her, according to court documents.
Those documents also report medical testing showed that the girl suffered trauma that aligned with sexual assault and had bruising on her face and neck that were consistent with being strangled.