BENTONVILLE – A man from Bella Vista was convicted of soliciting sex with a 13-year-old girl and sentenced to 15 years in prison on Wednesday.
Evan Anderson, 26, has been convicted of three counts of sexual indecency with a child. He faced up to six years in prison on each count. The jury could also have recommended that Anderson be placed on supervised probation for six years.
The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before delivering a verdict.
The panel then recommended that Anderson serve five years in prison on each of the counts. They also recommended that sentences be served consecutively.
Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green followed the jury’s recommendation.
Anderson was arrested in September 2019.
A 15-year-old girl testified that when she was 13, Anderson asked her if she wanted to have sex and be with him for the first time.
She said Anderson convinced her to have Snapchat and told her how to connect with him on the site. She said Anderson texted her via Snapchat asking if she wanted to sleep with him. She said she never answered.
The teenager said Anderson asked her to have sex again, and she said no. He never approached her again, she said.
She decided to report Anderson to the police after learning that Anderson had had a similar interaction with another girl, she said.
A 19-year-old woman testified that when she was 16, Anderson asked her to undress so he could gratify himself. She recorded the incident with Anderson.
Prosecutors released the recording for the jury.
Anderson has not been charged with the incident with the woman since she was 16 and the law requires a victim to be 15 or younger.
Anderson testified in his defense. He told jurors he thought the 16-year-old was his wife when he spoke to her. Anderson said he believed he was alone with his wife in the house.
He told jurors that he only had sexually explicit communication with his wife and unintentionally with the older girl. Anderson denied ever asking for sex with the girl.
Anderson made no statement until the judge sentenced him. He must serve approximately 2.5 years in prison before being eligible for parole. He must also register as a sex offender.
The judge ordered him not to have contact with minors.