A rural Cotter man, who was arrested in late September on charges of rape, was released from the Baxter County jail Tuesday afternoon after posting $50,000 bond. Sixty-two year old William Leon Bardin was arrested September 23 and charged with rape after an 18-year old woman told Baxter County Sheriff's investigators and the Arkansas State Police that Bardin allegedly began molesting her when she was five or six years old and the incidents continued over several years.
Bardin drove an ice cream truck in neighborhoods in a number of towns in the area and he is known locally as a child advocate. He and his wife, Robin, adopted more than 16 children and had five of their own.
The woman who reported the rape told authorities the molestation occurred in the ice cream truck and in Bardin's home. The woman said she told Bardin's wife about her allegations of sexual abuse several years ago but Bardin's wife didn't believe her and did not report the allegations to law enforcement.
After the woman told authorities about the incidents, she agreed to wear a concealed transmitter so investigators could hear a conversation she had with Bardin in which he admitted to the abuse and promised not to do it again.
Bardin's attorney, David Ethredge, entered a waiver of arraignment and a not guilty plea on his client's behalf on September 26.
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