FRANKLIN COUNTY (KFSM) — An Area Agency on Aging transportation van driver was booked into the Franklin County Jail Wednesday (June 22) on suspicion of failing to stop the rape of a 9-year-old boy.
Jordan Byrd, 71, is facing charges of felony permitting of child abuse and a misdemeanor for failing to report the child abuse, according to his probable cause affidavit.
The affidavit states a 14-year-old boy raped and sodomized the 9-year-old boy in March while the two were the only passengers on the van driven by Byrd from their alternative schools in Fort Smith and the incident was captured on surveillance video.
The video shows the first sexual assault begins at 3:53 p.m. and lasts for six minutes, according to the affidavit. The suspect forces the victim to perform oral sex and the victim could be heard loudly saying it hurts, the affidavit states. Byrd could be seen looking up several times during the assault, but does not say anything or try to intervene, according to the affidavit.
The second sexual assault, during which the suspect sodomizes the victim, can also be seen on the video, the affidavit states. The victim can be heard screaming in pain, but again, Byrd looks up several times during the assault and does not say or do anything to stop it, according to the affidavit. Only once the screaming gets worse does Byrd ask what is going on and the suspect tells him that he hit the victim, but Byrd does not stop the van to separate the suspect from the victim, the affidavit states.
The assault stops after Byrd asks what is happening and eventually the suspect is dropped off by the van, according to the affidavit. When the van stops to drop off the victim, the victim asks Byrd if he saw what the suspect did to him, to which Byrd replies “huh” and does not say anything else, but does wave at the victim’s parents as he drives away, the affidavit states.
A supervisor at the Area Agency on Aging told investigators Byrd did not report the incident to the agency and she had heard about it through someone else, according to the affidavit.
Several days later, investigators interviewed Byrd, who told them he did not see the first sexual assault, but did see the second sexual assault, the affidavit states. He said he knew what was happening and described the suspect and victim as having a “relationship,” according to the affidavit.
The victim’s family is now suing the Area Agency on Aging of Western Arkansas and Valley Behavioral Health System, according to Fort Smith attorney Joey McCutchen who filed the lawsuit in Sebastian County Circuit Court.
McCutchen said the 14-year-old is also being criminally investigated.
Valley Behavioral Health System in Fort Smith provides mental health care for children and adults. According to the lawsuit, the suspect was a patient at Valley Behavioral health at the time of the sexual assaults.
The lawsuit states the treatment facility officials knew the 14-year-old patient would masturbate in public places and posed a threat of causing permanent physical and emotional harm, including rape and/or sexual abuse to others who were minors. It states the treatment facility had an obligation to tell the transport officials of the patients condition, but did not.
The lawsuit also states the 14-year-old suspect is related to Byrd, who has since resigned from his position.
The victim’s family is seeing damages upwards of $75,000 for the victim’s medical treatment past and present.