Reported rape case prompts Helena-West Helena schools to review checkout policy

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HELENA- WEST HELENA, Ark. -- A week after news broke of an alleged relationship between a 29-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl in Helena-West Helena, authorities and school officials are trying to figure out if the suspect was able to check the teen out of school.

The teen reportedly made statements that led officers to believe that on numerous occasions Darryl Harlan and his wife may have checked her out.

The problem: They were reportedly not authorized to do so.

"I`m not saying it did happen, but I`m saying that based on our policy, it should not have happened," said Superintendent John Hoy Thursday.

According to the district policies, parents wishing to check their kids out of school first have to prove they are the legal parent.

"They`ve got to go in, they`ve got to sign off, and we`ve got to make certain that they are the parent or the parent`s designee."

Hoy said he's scoured through old school sign-out sheets, but couldn't find any evidence Harlan or his wife ever signed the girl out of school. However, he's not ruling it out.

"Possibly because, if the mother the was present, maybe the mother had provided the school that, 'Hey, these are relatives,'" said Police Chief Virgil Green.

Police told WREG Harlan is of no relations to the girl.

They're still investigating as well.

In the meantime, Hoy has asked all principals to review the school's checkout policies with school staff.

As of Thursday afternoon, Harlan remains at large.

Another woman in the case, Sherris Ingram, was arrested Thursday morning and charged for her role int he abuse of the 14-year-old.