The longtime girlfriend of child rapist Barry Walker is facing felony charges in Clark County, as authorities say she witnessed Walker rape one child and didn’t tell anyone.
Lori Cogburn, 49, of Pearcy, is charged with one count of permitting the abuse of a child-involved sexual activity. Cogburn was 36 at the time she walked in on Walker as he was sexually assaulting an underage girl, according to court records filed this week by Clark County Prosecutor Dan Turner.
Walker — whose October 2022 conviction of raping at least 31 underage girls over the span of more than two decades landed him nearly 40 life sentences in prison — was arrested in Pike County for “similar allegations of abuse” in 2014. It was during that investigation that a victim identified as Juvenile #13 told authorities that Cogburn had seen Walker assault her on one occasion. An affidavit states that Cogburn was interviewed during that investigation, as well, but no charges were ever filed.
In fact, it would be another eight years before Walker would be arrested, this time by a joint effort of law enforcement agencies in both Pike and Clark counties.
A second victim in Cogburn’s case, identified in court records as Juvenile #6, spent nights alone with Walker after the 2014 investigation, and, according to an affidavit, Cogburn allowed this behavior. (Ed.: Just to clarify, The Arkadelphian would not identify victims even if their names or initials were available.) “Ms. Cogburn failed to take any action to prevent the abuse of the two minor children even though she knew or should have known Barry Walker was raping them,” the affidavit notes.
A civil lawsuit naming Cogburn as among several defendants who helped Walker conceal the rapes notes that Cogburn was Walker’s girlfriend since 1992. Walker was first convicted in a 2000 case involving sexual indecency with a minor.
Two others — Walker’s brother Bryce Walker and Brandy Cox, an employee of Barry’s — face similar charges in Pike County following their arrest in December.
State law provides that a person commits the offense of permitting minor abuse if the accused is a parent, guardian or person legally charted with the care and custody of a minor. Authorities argue that Cogburn’s relationship to both victims are defined under the statute.
Cogburn was arrested on March 9 and booked into the Clark County Detention Center, and was held on a $40,000 bond. She has since posted bond.
If convicted, Cogburn could face five to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000. Her arraignment is set for April 11.
Court records filled out by Cogburn indicate that she has made failed attempts to retain the services of Hot Springs attorney Travis Morrissey. Cogburn has been assigned a court-appointed public defender.