ROGERS, Ark.– A Rogers man was arrested Thursday for sexually assaulting a minor over the summer.
37-year old Michael Sturgell is charged with Sexual Assault in the Second Degree, a Class B felony, in Benton County.
Police say they received reports of a sexual assault the last weekend of June, 2018, at the Prairie Creek Campground in Rogers. The Child Abuse Hotline report stated a 17-year old girl had been touched on the breast over her clothes. The girl reported that she was camping with a large group that weekend, and on the first night Sturgell had been drinking around six beers. After the girl went into a tent to go to sleep, she says Sturgell laid down next to her and began touching her arm. She reported that she tried to push and kick his arm off her, but he rolled near her and began to “spoon” her. The report says Sturgell began grabbing the girl’s breasts and eventually tried to put his hands under her shirt. The girl claims she then grabbed her shoes, left the tent, and went to another tent where her younger sister was sleeping.
The report states the next day the girl went to an alternate campsite where she had friends staying and called her mother to come and get her, explaining to her mother what had happened. When her mother arrived at the campsite, the girl claims her mother confronted Sturgell, who said he didn’t remember anything happening. The girl says Sturgell apologized to her.
When police interviewed Sturgell a month later, he said he did not remember the incident, only that he had been tired and fell asleep quickly and when he woke up the girl had switched tents. Sturgell claimed the next day he went fishing with the girl and that things were normal. Sturgell says when the girl’s mother confronted him about the incident, he didn’t know what she was talking about. He did tell police its possible he had rolled up next to the girl and cuddled with her, since that’s how he was used to sleeping at home with his partner.
Sturgell is being held in the Benton County Jail. No bond has been set yet. His court date is scheduled for November 26.