BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KFSM) — A trial is underway for a man accused of rape and battery of a child.
The trial for Tristan Tiarks began on Tuesday (Jan. 28) in Benton County Circuit Court in Bentonville.
Tiarks was admitted to the Benton County Jail in January of 2019 with three counts against him: Rape, Second-Degree Battery and Aggravated Assault. In March, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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.
Tiarks is no longer listed on RehabFirst's website as a co-owner or physical therapist.
He had his physical therapy license revoked for a year in 2012 according to documents from the Arkansas State Board of Physical Therapy.
A complaint filed to the state board alleges Tiarks had sexually harassed a female patient at a separate physical therapy location before texting and calling her.
If convicted, Tiarks could face up to 40 years to life in prison if convicted of rape, three to 10 years if convicted of battery and up to 10 years for the assault charge.