A 22-year-old Mountain Home man, Jacob Lathan, appeared Thursday in Baxter County Circuit Court and entered a not guilty plea to a charge of felony fourth-degree sexual assault. Lathan entered the plea through his attorney Matt Stone.

On Oct. 8, the Arkansas Child Abuse hotline received a call regarding a 14-year-old girl who said she exchanged a sexual act for a ride from Lathan.

During an interview the same day, the girl said approximately a month prior she and a 16-year-old female called Lathan and asked for a ride. The 14-year-old girl said it was her understanding the 16-year-old girl would perform a sex act on Lathan in exchange driving the two teens to a location.

Once Lathan had taken the girls where they wanted to go, he drove them to a campground described as being below the Norfork Dam in the Jordan area. Upon arriving, the 14-year-old said she learned she also would have to perform a sex act on Lathan.

Following the act, Lathan asked the younger teen her age and she reportedly told him she was 14.

The 16-year-old girl also was interviewed during the investigation. When interviewed, the second teen told investigators she didn’t really know Lathan but he had given her rides before. She said she called Lathan, who agreed to give them a ride.

The agreement, according to the 16-year-old, was that the girls would give Lathan gas money in exchange for giving them a ride. When Lathan appeared and the girls got in the car, they discovered they didn’t have any money, the 16-year-old girl reportedly told investigators.

Upon hearing the girls didn’t have any money, Lathan reportedly told the teens they “had to” perform a sex act on him. Following that demand, Lathan reportedly drove the two teens to a campground where they reportedly performed a sex act on him.

According to the affidavit filed in the case, both teens stated they were afraid not perform the sex act on Lathan.

Investigators with the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Lathan. During that interview, Lathan reportedly said the older teen called and asked him to give the two girls a ride to purchase some drugs.

Lathan told the investigators he then drove the teens to a campground where both girls performed a sex act on him. Lathan was arrested a month later. He was released from the jail after posting a $5,000 bond.

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