Huffmaster pleads guilty; receives a sweet deal for 14 sexual felonies  

Tammy Curtis, Managing Editor

Jack Huffmaster, Jr.

A man who eluded prosecution for many years and was finally arrested in 2022 for 14 counts of sexual assault received the deal of a lifetime earlier this month in Sharp County. 

Jack Huffmaster, Jr. 60, was charged with several sexually related felonies on Nov. 11, 2022 by the Third Judicial District Prosecutor’s office  He was charged with 14 cases of Sexual Assault in the Second degree … All Class B Felonies for cases dating back as far as 2011. At the same time, he was charged with three charges of Domestic Battery. The original recommendations by law enforcement at the time of Huffmaster’s arrest  were for seven counts of Rape-a Class Y Felony; each is punishable by 40 years to life in prison; six counts of Sexual Assault, Class B Felonies, each punishable by five to twenty years and three counts of Battery, Class A Misdemeanors. The prosecutor’s office chose to go with the lesser charges. 

Huffmaster’s Probable Cause Affidavit was also promptly sealed by the Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s office after he was finally arrested. All persons who have sexually related crimes with victims such as this case certainly do not get that honor. Most are only redacted of victim’s names and social security numbers and other vital information in an effort to prevent the re-victimize the victim by using their names. 

Huffmaster was the son and brother of a former employees of the Sharp County Sheriff’s Department.  Huffmaster’s reign of terror and threats over his victims for over 11 years ended when he was jailed, where he remained until his pleading. 

VictimS speaks out

His sentencing order was filed with the Sharp County Circuit Clerk’s office on Feb 5. Huffmaster entered a negotiated guilty plea on all charges. One of his victim’s who spoke with this news agency was not pleased with his low sentence.  The victim said, “I don’t feel that he got enough time for the crimes that he committed. Ultimately, he had to admit that he was guilty in exchange for his sentence and that is a relief in some ways. He will forever be remembered as a monster, and a predator. I am thankful for the media and Shane Russell for taking the matters seriously, and that they have no tolerance for sex crimes. It eases my mind that our county is a little safer with him behind bars. I am disappointed though, knowing he should have been given a bigger punishment. However, I am thankful he isn’t walking the streets here where our children and families reside.”

A second victim read a victim impact statement at the pleading and tears flowed freely as she explained the impact of his crimes on  her life.

The victim bravely spoke before Huffmaster and told of the horrors she experienced in her life from the ages of 14-17 when she was abused and raped by Huffmaster. She held back tears as she recalled the phrase he so often said, “Promise me you won’t tell anyone.” She explained that she told and broke the promise but through counseling she has gained some strength. She spoke of eating disorders that were manifested through the pain of her abuse.  She also spoke of how she struggled with flashbacks and nightmares of the events she endured and even became suicidal and attempted to end her life. Many of the things she suffered through at his hands have robbed her of normal male relationships and caused her to lack of communication skills that are important with vital with people like her professors. She also spoke of the struggles of not being able to function normally, and the sadness she experiences daily from the guilt.

 The Domestic Battery charges were Nolle prosequi- is a legal entry of record that the prosecutor or plaintiff has decided to abandon the prosecution. Huffmaster received 180 months in the Department of Corrections followed by a  60 moth suspended sentence by Circuit Judge Rob Ratton per the prosecutor’s plea bargain.

Huffmaster, who is 60, will only serve the least possible time of five years, for ONE of the B felonies, and will likely be out very much sooner. He plead guilty to 14 B  felonies. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Grider negotiated the pleas for the state. 

Huffmaster was also ordered to pay $835 in fines and fees and $15,855 for pay to stay to the county for his time in jail. These are set to begin 60 days after his release from prison at $100 a month. If he serves the entire sentence of 160 months, when Huffmaster is released, he will be 68 years old. When his fines are paid, he will be 82 years old. 

The case-

 In the case that led to the charges, the Sharp County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call regarding a female victim being treated at the White River Health Systems Emergency Room in Cherokee Village on Jan. 29, 2022.  The victim told the police she had been raped earlier in the day and had been raped and sexually and physically assaulted multiple times and in multiple manners by Huffmaster dating back to March of 2019. 


Initially Sharp County Detective Cham Buchanan, took the lead on the case and spent countless hours working on it, including identifying two more subjects who were identified as victims of Huffmaster, including one who had turned him in to law enforcement for alleged sexual offenses in 2011.  

Buchanan also attempted to gain access to files from two previous cases from the agencies who worked them. They both had the same victims that were never prosecuted. These occurred during the time his family worked for the sheriff’s department under former Sheriff Mark Counts. 

During the course of her investigation, she uncovered documentation regarding item or items purchased on Huffmaster’s credit cards that were utilized in the rape of one of the victims. None of the requested documents could not be located by the departments that worked them when Buchanan requested them. In March, 2022, she later presented her case file to former Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Pettie, hoping to obtain a warrant for Huffmaster. Pettie told her the case file was “partial”  and requested a full file. “It is the policy of the Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s office to require a full case file before the filing of any case,” Pettie explained to this news agency at the time.  Pettie did not explain what defines  a “complete case file” versus an incomplete one to Buchanan or this news agency, as there were several documents included in what was turned in. 

Buchanan left the department in late March or early April 2022 to work for the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division. She left her file for Investigator Cody Bailey to complete and submit for prosecution at that time she took the other job. 


Huffmaster was finally arrested on Nov. 9, nearly seven months after her investigation ended and less than two weeks after Sheriff-Elect and  then Chief Deputy Shane Russell was made aware of the aging case that had never been sent to the prosecutor’s office since Buchanan left. 

Huffmaster, was taken into custody by the Hardy Police Department at his attorney, James Gift’s office,  after a warrant was finally issued for his arrest the same day. A source who was in the sheriff’s department the morning the warrant was to be served told this news agency former Investigator Cody Bailey made a call to Huffmaster, who had coincidentally taken a personal day off work to let him know of his impending arrest. This was much the same as when the search warrant was initially served on Huffmaster’s home in the Spring of 2022. Huffmaster was not home at the time, but showed up soon after with his attorney during the execution. 

The 2011 case was worked by the Hardy Police Department under former Chief Ernie Rose and another, alleged sexual assault or rape a few years later was reported by one of the same victims. Former Sharp County investigator Aaron Presser worked that case. Buchanan sought the files from both to strengthen her case and establish a behavior pattern related to the repeated sexual claims by the same victims over the years.

 In 2011, when the victim reported alleged sexual abuse and or rape to the Hardy Police Department. Huffmaster allegedly managed to avoid prosecution after the victim recanted the story due to threats by Huffmaster. 

Within the probable cause affidavit for his eventual arrest, which was written by Bailey, He stated, “The investigation by this office has uncovered a history and pattern of abuse suffered by the victims at the hands of Huffmaster for more than ten years. Great lengths were undertaken to keep the victims discredited, and stymie the efforts of law enforcement to uncover the truth of what had been taking place.”

The other two witnesses told similar stories and indicated dates they were also raped, as well as locations. While Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children took the initial report, the case was never turned over to the Arkansas State Police’s Criminal Investigation Division by the Sharp County Sheriff’s Department under former Sheriff Mark Counts, according to documentation. This is something that is very common in almost all other sexual assault or rape cases filed in the county, especially ones where family members are currently or previously had been employed by the investigating agency. 

The probable cause affidavit for warrant for arrest was completed by Bailey on Oct 26, over ten months after the alleged crime and six months after Buchanan left the department. After being made aware of the severity and longevity of the case, Sheriff Elect and then Chief Deputy  Russell worked hard to ensure Huffmaster was arrested and brought to justice.

Huffmaster’s bond was set at a quarter million dollars on  Nov. 10, 2022.

 He remained in jail until his pleading.

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