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story.lead_photo.caption Lawrence Ralston

BENTONVILLE -- It took a jury a little over two hours to find a Rogers man guilty of sexually abusing two boys.

Lawrence Ralston, 70, was found guilty Wednesday of rape and second-degree sexual assault. The jury began their deliberations Wednesday morning after spending the day before listening to testimony.

A 17-year-old boy testified that Ralston touched him inappropriately and performed a sex act on him when he was 9 years old.

The boy told jurors that Ralston warned him not to tell anyone or he would hurt him and his mother.

A 14-year-old boy testified that Ralston touched him inappropriately when he was 6 years old.

Nick Torkelson, a former Rogers police officer, testified that he encountered Ralston several years ago. Police had received a telephone concerning a man driving and self gratifying himself and Ralston was stopped, Torkelson said.

Torkelson said he talked with Ralston who told him that he was sexually frustrated and missed his two boys.

Ralston testified on his behalf, however it was not from the witness stand. Deputies have been using a wheelchair to take Ralston in and out of the courtroom and he sat in a chair in front of the jury.

Janette McKinney, one of Ralston's attorneys, asked Ralston if he had ever touched the younger boy in a inappropriate manner.

"Absolutely, swear to God, no," Ralston replied.

Ralston also adamantly denied ever having any sexual contact with the older boy.

The rape charge involves the older boy while the sexual assault charge concerns the other boy.

The jury is now deliberating on Ralston's sentencing. He faces from 10 to 40 years or life imprisonment for the rape conviction and five to 20 years in prison for the sexual assault.

NW News on 12/21/2017

Print Headline: Jury finds Rogers man guilty in sexual abuse case

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