FORMER TEXARKANA YOUTH BASEBALL COACH SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS FOR TRANSPORTING MINORS WITH THE INTENT TO ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2013
Texarkana, Arkansas - Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, and Bob Harrison, Chief of the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department, announced today that Walter Richard Roberts, 62, of Texarkana, Arkansas, was sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole, the maximum available under the law at the time of the crime, for transporting minors with the intent to engage in sexual activity. Roberts served as a youth baseball coach from 1986 through 1994. The Honorable Susan O. Hickey, United States District Judge, handed down the sentence in Texarkana. Roberts was also ordered to serve three years supervised release and to pay $91,408.60 in restitution to the victims.
United States Attorney Eldridge commented, “Individuals who target children victimize the most vulnerable and precious members of our community. The extensive abuse committed by the defendant has had a devastating, long-lasting effect on the victims of the sexual abuse, as well as their loved ones and the whole community. When sexual abuse occurs, we will work together to identify and prosecute those responsible.”
Chief Harrison stated, “I would like to commend the victims for having the courage to come forward and take a public stand in removing a sexual predator from our streets. If it were not for them, as well as the cooperative and tireless efforts of Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department Detectives and the United States Attorney’s Office, Walter Richard Roberts would have escaped punishment.”
According to court records and testimony in court, during the mid-1980s and early 1990s, Roberts made several trips across state lines with minor children, all under the age of 12 at the time, in order to engage in sexual activity. During one instance, Roberts transported two victims from Arkansas to a business in Texarkana, Texas, where he had the minors get into the back of his van and sexually abused them. Roberts transported one of these same minors again on a separate trip to Wright Patman Lake in Texas, telling the youth to get into the back of his van, where he proceeded to sexually molest the victim. Finally, during the summer of 1988 or 1989, Roberts transported a third victim on a fishing trip to Beard’s Lake in Arkansas. Roberts sexually abused the victim while driving on Highway 71 from Texarkana.
During interviews with investigators, Roberts admitted to further sexual abuse of the minor victims. Specifically, Roberts stated that he continued to abuse one of the minors over a five-year period. Roberts was originally indicted on August 22, 2012. He pleaded guilty on November 1, 2012.
This case was investigated by the Texarkana Police Department. United States Attorney Conner Eldridge and Assistant United States Attorney Kyra Jenner prosecuted the case for the United States.
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