A former nurse at the Baxter County Detention Center, 39 year old SAMUEL J. SPARKS of Mountain Home, has been arrested on felony sexual assault charges involving female inmates at the Detention Center.
SAMUEL SPARKS, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), was hired as a full time nurse at the Detention Center on 01/25/2022 to fill a vacancy. His duties included providing nursing care to jail inmates, dispensing medications as prescribed, coordinating inmate sick call requests to see the Nurse Practitioner, and following up with aftercare as instructed by the Nurse Practitioner and other medical providers.
On August 4, 2023, a complaint was made to Sheriff’s Investigators by an inmate alleging that SAMUEL SPARKS had engaged in inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with her in the Detention Center. An investigation was immediately initiated. Three inmates or former inmates were interviewed that same day by Investigators, and accusations of inappropriate conduct of various sexual natures were made against SPARKS by more than one of them.
SAMUEL SPARKS was interviewed on August 7, 2023. He admitted to having conducted what he categorized as breast examinations of female inmates at their request, however he asserted that these examinations, which took place in the nurse’s office without anyone else being present, were undertaken as part of his duties as a jail nurse. He denied that any other acts took place. A check of official Detention Center records indicated that SPARKS, in his capacity as a nurse, did not make any notations in the medical charts of these inmates nor did he prepare any documentation related to these examinations he performed. There were no records of any kind on file indicating that these examinations had been requested by inmates or had been conducted by SPARKS. One inmate, however, did verbally tell Investigators during the interview process that she had in fact herself requested a breast examination from SPARKS in his capacity as a nurse.
The Sheriff’s Office terminated SAMUEL SPARKS as an employee later that same day.
A comprehensive investigation continued, including several other jail inmates or former inmates being interviewed by Sheriff’s Investigators. The investigation file was provided to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for review to consider the filing of criminal charges. The Prosecuting Attorney filed three felony counts of Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree against SAMUEL SPARKS, and a Bench Warrant for his arrest was issued on September 19, 2023.
SAMUEL SPARKS surrendered himself at the jail this afternoon and was booked on the charges. He was released from custody after posting the $5,000 bond set by the court. SPARKS is scheduled to appear before the Circuit Court to answer on September 25th.
Although charges have been filed, the investigation is still open and continuing.