Charges come from 30-year-old alleged sexual assault case


Reporter - Briana Conner
Photographer - Chad Darnall
Web Editor - Mason Stevenson

PADUCAH, Ky. -  Barry Arant served the City of Paducah as an assistant fire chief in the mid 1990s, but now he could be serving prison time. He is currently being held in The McCracken County Regional Jail, but Wednesday morning, he was in court.

His face looked stoic as the judge read the charge against him. He's accused of rape, a first degree felony in Kentucky. The judge also ordered that Arant have no contact with the alleged victim, directly or indirectly.

On January 18th, the alleged victim arrived at the sheriff's office to report what she says happened to her when she was 11-years-old. Detectives looked into the claims until the following Tuesday, when they determined they had enough probable cause to issue an arrest warrant. On January 22nd, McCracken County sheriff's deputies took Arant into custody, and he was arraigned on the 23rd.
It's the first steps down a long road to vindication for his victim if he's proven guilty.

Though Purchase Area Sexual Assault Child Advocacy Center Associate Director Amy Clevidence doesn't know the details of the Arant case, it fits the mold.  "The stranger the story, the more likely it's true," she said,  "In 90 percent of the cases, the perpetrator is someone who's in a known, trusted relationship with the child."

The McCracken County Sheriff's office has confirmed that Arrant and his alleged victim were well acquainted. Captain Matt Carter said they're looking 30 years into the past to find out if, and how, Arant should be charged now.  "The investigation has basically concluded as it results in the charges of rape. There will be continued and further consultation with The Commonwealth's Attorney's office where additional, lesser charges could be presented at a later time," he said.

Clevidence says prosecution can often be part of the healing process. One that, in many cases, has been a long time coming. She said, "I would say that a majority of the intakes that I personally do, a whole lot of the adults coming to us for clinical services are adults that say this happened to me as a child."

It's a secret carried for decades that's finally out in the open so the healing process can begin. "It's not something we're ever gonna help you forget, but we're gonna help make it something that doesn't define who you are," said Clevidence. 

All of the services provided by PASAC are free of charge.

Arant will have a preliminary hearing on January 29th, where the judge will determine if there's enough evidence for the case to head to a grand jury.