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BENTONVILLE -- Joshua Mehn, 34, was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl.

Mehn, of Bentonville, was originally charged with rape, but agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge.

He was arrested May 16, 2019.

Bentonville police beginning investigating after receiving a report the girl had told her mother Mehn had been inappropriately touching her, according to a probable cause affidavit. The girl was interviewed at the Children's Advocacy Center in Harrison and provided details of the abuse, according to the affidavit.

Sarah Rinehart, deputy prosecutor, said the girl avoiding testifying at trial was a factor in the plea agreement. Rinehart said she the girl's family and police are in favor of the agreement.

Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green sentenced Mehn to eight years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. Mehn will have to abide by a suspended sentence agreement for 12 years after his release from prison.

Mehn is require to register as a sex offender. He must also compete a sex offender program.

Tracy M. Neal can be reached by email at [email protected] or Twitter @NWATracy.

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