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FRANKLIN COUNTY MAN ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

LITTLE ROCK - A Franklin County man arrested on child pornography charges by agents from the Attorney General's Office and convicted on those counts last year pleaded guilty today in Crawford County to one count of rape, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said.

Agents from the Attorney General's Cyber Crimes Unit arrested Kenneth Gene Mendenhall, 39, of Altus on the rape count during an investigation following Mendenhall's arrest on multiple child pornography charges last June.

Mendenhall was sentenced to 20 years in prison on the rape count, with an additional 20-year suspended sentence. He was given another 20-year suspended sentence on a count of second-degree sexual assault.

Mendenhall entered his plea this morning before Crawford County Circuit Judge Gary Cottrell.

His sentence will run concurrently with a 40-year sentence handed down in Franklin County in November. At that time, Mendenhall pleaded guilty to four counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

"All too often, this type of criminal activity is not limited to trading images on the Internet," McDaniel said. "That's why it is important to me and to law enforcement agencies across the State to continue pursuing the criminals who engage in these reprehensible crimes against our most vulnerable citizens."

The Cyber Crimes Unit's initial investigation into Mendenhall began after agents suspected that child pornography was being possessed at Mendenhall's residence, 2816 Jennie Road, in Altus. At the time of that arrest, he admitted to investigators that he was in possession of child pornography.

Subsequently, the Cyber Crimes Unit began another investigation that led to the rape charge in Crawford County and his arrest on that charge a week later.

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