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BENTONVILLE -- A Gentry man received a 15-year prison sentence after admitting to sexually assaulting a girl.

Edward Joseph Shirley, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday to sexual assault under a plea agreement. He was originally charged with rape.

Circuit Judge Robin Green sentenced Shirley to 15 years in prison, followed by a five-year suspended sentence.

Gentry police began investigating in October 2017 after a 13-year-old disclosed that Shirley sexually assaulted her when she was 7 years old, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The teen said during an interview at the Children's Advocacy Center of Benton County that Shirley touched her inappropriately on more than one occasion, according to the affidavit.

Shirley admitted to police to having sexual contact with the child, according to the affidavit.

He was arrested June 16.

Shirley is required to register as a sex offender and must complete the prison's sex offender treatment program.

The judge ordered him not to have any contact with the girl or unsupervised contact with any minors.

Shirley must pay $1,670 in court associated costs.

NW News on 09/22/2018

Print Headline: Man sentenced to 15 years in prison

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