Jana Bradford, an elected prosecutor in rural Arkansas, allegedly used her legal knowledge and local connections to cover up for her uncle Barry Walker, who pleaded guilty last year to raping and molesting 31 children, some of them repeatedly.
A civil lawsuit, filed in October, alleges that Ms. Bradford and other members of Walker’s family “circled the carriages” to protect him and knowingly failed to report their abuse, in an attempt to protect their thriving construction and construction business. Mrs Bradford’s political interests.
The family, according to the complaint, “collectively worked to develop a strategy to protect Walker from investigations because they knew that a negative finding could damage the family’s reputation and political interests.”
“The people who knew about Barry are equally complicit in what happened to me and all those other girls,” one of the victims, now 22, told NBC News. “Every adult that was around, honestly. Nobody did shit. They failed us.”
Walker’s behaviors were publicly known for decades, and Ms Bradford worked assiduously to clear the 59-year-old’s name.
In March 2000, Walker took no objection to sexually assaulting a year-old girl and came out a year later.
In 2004, another victim, a 3-year-old girl, said that Walker had abused her, prompting a state police investigation. Ms. Bradford petitioned the state to grant Walker clemency.
More indictments followed in 2006, 2010 and 2014, the last of which ended with Walker being jailed.
Family members posted his $25,000 bail, hired an attorney, paid their employees and kept their business enterprises running. Ms. Bradford wrote a letter to the top prosecutor in the area arguing that the victim fabricated her allegations and that the officer never charged Walker with any crime.
In 2019, Ms Bradford attempted to remove Walker from the sex offender registry, though, according to the lawsuit, she did not allow her own daughter to be left alone with the man, who was often seen driving around town with girls or riding a horse. with them.
The lawsuit also alleges that family members delayed reporting the two girls’ abuse claims until after an election year to protect Ms. Bradford’s political ambitions.
“EM. Bradford denies in the strongest possible terms that she knew Barry Walker was abusing children or that she did anything to hide his depraved behavior,” a prosecutor’s attorney told NBC. “Since Ms. Bradford neither even knew about Barry Walker’s ongoing criminal acts, she certainly cannot be held accountable for her actions and the harm she caused.”
Walker is serving 39 life sentences, for a total of 1,710 years in prison, without the possibility of parole.
The case is considered one of the worst series of crimes in state history.