Arkansas police chief suspended after sexual assault allegations

CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ark. — A police chief in Crittenden County, Ark. is in hot water over sexual assault allegations and now the victim is speaking out. She wants the chief to be held accountable.

Turrell Police Chief Perry Jennings is currently suspended pending the outcome of an investigation, according to a statement from his attorney. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman while on duty.

But the victim said the suspension is not enough. She wants him behind bars.

“I didn’t ask for this. I pulled over to wake up,” the woman told FOX13.

She did not wish to show her identity out of fear of retaliation. Between tears, an Arkansas woman relived the day she said Turrell Police Chief Perry Jennings sexually assaulted her.

”He forced his hands in my pants inside my panties. I’m crying,” she said.

The woman said around 4 in the morning on October 3 her boyfriend called her saying he was stranded in Tupelo, Miss. after his car broke down. So, she left Jonesboro, Ark., for Tupelo to pick him up. On the way, she began to get tired and pulled over in Turrell.

”I was going to get out, use the bathroom, get some coffee. Get out of the vehicle for a minute, wake up and get back on the road, but fell asleep and woke up to him at the window,” she said.

The woman is talking about Chief Jennings. She said he saw marijuana in her car and told her she was under arrest.

”He said, ‘I’ll give you a break if you follow me over to the police station and I’ll let someone pick your vehicle up rather than get it towed,’” she told FOX13.

But rather than taking her to the current police station, she said he led her to a permanently closed Turrell police station. That is where the alleged sexual assault happened.

”He lifts my shirt up and licks on my right breast. He exposes himself. Wants me to touch him. I told him no,” she said.

The woman is now calling for Chief Jennings to be arrested.

“He’s walking around on paid suspension. It’s not fair,” she told FOX13.

Charles Webster, the Mayor of Turrell, confirmed Jennings has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

According to the attorney’s statement, Jennings denies any wrongdoing and is cooperating with the investigation.

The incident allegedly occurred at a city hall, and Jennings’ attorney said there was at least one eyewitness.

The attorney encouraged any other witnesses to reach out to law enforcement.

FOX13 reached out to Chief Jenning’s attorney for a statement.

Below is the full statement.

Mr. Jennings denies any wrongdoing and stands ready to cooperate with law enforcement’s investigation. It is my understanding from other news stories that have been published, that the sexual allegations are alleged to have occurred during an interaction between the woman and Mr. Jennings in a conference room located at Turrell City Hall. Mr. Jennings does admit that he came in contact with this woman and asked her to come to City Hall after finding her in possession of an illicit substance.

The conference room where Mr. Jennings met with the woman is equipped with large windows which allow people who are located outside of the building to clearly see inside of the room. Further, there was an eyewitness who was parked outside during the interaction between the woman and Mr. Jennings who has provided a written statement.

It has come to Mr. Jennings attention that the woman has accused him of wrongdoing by indicating that he provided his phone number to her. During their interaction, the woman was extremely emotional, was in an unfamiliar area, and was having difficulty getting GPS to pull up on her phone. As such, Mr. Jennings provided his phone number to her, in case she had difficulty finding her way back to the interstate. Mr. Jennings denies that providing this information to the woman under these circumstances was inappropriate, and further denies ever requesting that she send pictures to him.

It is unknown to Mr. Jennings if there were other eyewitnesses, but if so, we urge those individuals to reach out to law enforcement, so that this investigation can be completed in a timely manner.

We hope that this statement helps to clarify some of the facts involved, following the publicity of this case and the allegations made towards Mr. Jennings. Pending the completion of the investigation, we are unable to comment further on any details involving the incident. We appreciate you reaching out.