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THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2007
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Registered sex offender charged with raping girl, 10

OZARK (AP) — A registered sex offender is charged with grabbing a 10-year-old Ozark girl from a playground and raping her Tuesday.

Police found Kent Stewart, 43, hiding in an attic next door to his residence around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, The Dothan Eagle reported.

Ozark Police Chief Tony Spivey told the paper that the girl was playing at a playground in her apartment complex around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when Stewart approached her and offered to pay her $2 to help him move a chair. She refused and Stewart grabbed her and took her into his home.

Spivey said the girl didn't resist because she may have been threatened. Spivey said Stewart then undressed the girl and raped her. He then released her and she ran home. The girl made it to her home, about 200 yards away, and identified Stewart to her mother, who called the police.

The girl was taken to Dale Medical Center and then to Dothan Hospital. Spivey said the girl was physically alright but may carry mental scars from the traumatic experience for the rest of her life.

U.S. Marshals were called in to assist in Stewart's arrest, Spivey said. Stewart is charged with kidnapping and rape in the first degree. If convicted, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In 1993, Stewart was convicted for violently raping an elderly woman in Ozark. He was released from prison in 2003.

Spivey said he wants to see Stewart locked up for good.

"This was an animalistic act," Spivey said. "It's important we get him into custody as soon as we can and then do everything in our power to make sure he never walks the streets of Ozark again. Our aim is to put him back in prison, where he belongs."

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Information from: The Dothan Eagle

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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