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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Bond reduction request denied for man charged with rape, incest

Last Modified: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 7:48 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A judge in state district court refused to lower the bond of a Sulphur man charged with 10 counts of aggravated incest and two counts of aggravated rape.

Bond for Perry Stephen Arnold, 51, is currently set at $90,000.

Defense attorney Michael McHale asked Judge Ron Ware to "significantly lower" Arnold's bond because of the lack of physical evidence; because the alleged victim, who now lives out of state, was only interviewed over the phone; and because Arnold has a serious heart condition.

Prosecutor Bobby Holmes said that although the statement from the alleged victim was taken over the phone, it was an hour-and-a-half-long and very detailed.

Ware said that there wouldn't have been physical evidence because the case was reported to authorities about five years after the alleged incidents stopped; and there are rarely eyewitnesses in child sexual abuse cases.

The charges are very serious – aggravated rape carries a life sentence, the judge said.

"I'm not prepared to reduce bond at this time," Ware said.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's detective Lisa Hardy said she began investigating Arnold as a result of another complaint, in which charges were ultimately dropped.

Family members had suspicions that Arnold was abusing the girl, Hardy said.

One family member told Hardy that the girl was able to describe Arnold's genitalia, the detective testified. Family members also found a note the girl wrote about being abused by Arnold, although it was later burned, Hardy said.

Hardy said that she began investigating the case in May, but didn't hear back from the girl and her mother until July.

The girl, who was 17 in July, said the abuse started at 6 years old, when she would take baths with Arnold, and progressed, Hardy testified. Hardy said the abuse lasted until the girl moved to Utah at age 12.

In his statement to authorities, Arnold said he took baths with the girl until she began asking questions, such as “what's that?” Hardy said.

Hardy said the girl's mother asked the girl and Arnold if something was happening. When confronted by the mother in a car, Arnold asked the girl if she wanted him to go to jail, Hardy said the mother told her.

The girl told the detective that she did not admit to her mother what was happening until they moved to Utah because she was scared, Hardy testified.

Although she admitted it, she did not want her mother to report the abuse because Arnold was taking care of her grandmother, Hardy said.

The grandmother said she contracted West Nile disease in 2011, but was healthy when the girl and her mother moved to Utah.

The girl called Arnold in 2012 and asked him to apologize for what he had done to her, which he did, Hardy said the girl told her.

Arnold told the detective that he did not apologize, but agreed with the girl to make her happy, Hardy said.

The girl said she told Arnold she did not want to participate in the acts, Hardy testified.

Arnold repeatedly tried to change the subject during his interview, the detective said.

Hardy said when she told a family member that Arnold had been arrested, the family member responded that she wasn't surprised.

The family member said Arnold had bought the girl thong underwear, the detective said. Hardy said the girl told her Arnold had bought her the underwear.

Shortly after the underwear were found, the girl and her mother moved to Utah, Hardy said.

McHale asked Hardy how she knew the person on the other end of the phone was the girl. Hardy said the girl identified herself as the alleged victim and gave details of the alleged incidents.

Arnold's wife of 18 years, who said she holds a master's in nursing, said Arnold suffers from a heart condition that he has had since he was a baby.

Because the right side of his heart is enlarged and has thin walls, Arnold is not supposed to be stressed, physically or mentally, she said.

Arnold's wife said that since he was incarcerated July 17, he has lost 15 to 20 pounds, has been short of breath and has frequent tightness in his chest.

Arnold's wife said she does not believe Calcasieu Correctional Center can provide him with the care he needs for his condition, she said.

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