A Pineville, Missouri, grandfather was arrested Thursday (Dec. 13) for a sexual assault incident that happened in Bella Vista, according to a Benton County probable cause affidavit.
Vernon Hood, 77, is accused of inappropriately touching an 8-year-old on December 4, according to the affidavit, and was taken into custody by Bella Vista police on a warrant for Sexual Assault in the 2nd Degree, a Class B Felony.
The girl’s mother went to the Bella Vista Police Department accompanied by her daughter and her 10-year-old son to tell them about the alleged child abuse incident, based on a phone call made to her by her children.
Bella Vista police said the mother told them she didn’t know why Hood went to the house while she was not there. For reasons unknown, the daughter wanted to show Hood her bedroom. When they entered the room, the child said he closed the door, pushed her onto the bed and pulled down her pants. The older brother went to the room, opened the door and said he saw Hood on his knees and his sister’s pants were down. Hood told the boy he was looking at a bruise his sister had.
According to the affidavit, Hood then left the home and returned a short time later to pick up his phone he had left behind. That’s when the child asked him, “why he did that to her and he told her she can’t tell anyone or he will go to jail.”
Police, accompanied by a representative from the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of Benton County, later went to the home. Bella Vista police said the homeowner gave them permission to collect items that may be evidence in the investigation.
CAC interviewed the children and asked the girl if, “anyone has touched her in a way that made her feel uncomfortable?” CAC stated that the girl said, “yes.”
In a separate interview, the boy also told CAC that he had never witnessed the man touch his sister.
Police called Hood on December 5, the following day, and interviewed him to hear his version of events; five days later he also agreed to a polygraph test. The test result showed that he had touched the victim. At this point, the 77-year-old told the investigator, “maybe it’s time I get a lawyer.”
The man told officers that he felt he was set-up by the children, and that their stories were not accurate.
Hood is in Benton County jail held on $15,000 bond. He has since been released.