HETH, Ark. - An Arkansas dad is using a handmade sign on his rural property to defend and protect his 16-year-old daughter.
Shelton Kitchens said he learned recently that his daughter was in a sexual relationship with a 21-year-old man.
“I find my daughter like she’s almost eaten alive. It’s sickening when you raise her shirt and look at it. Hickeys all over,” he told WREG.
Kitchens said the man lives near his tire shop.
"She got lured in by puppies," he said.
So Kitchens called the St Francis County Sheriff’s Office. He met with a deputy but they said they couldn't file criminal charges.
“He called Crimes Against Children in Little Rock. They said they can’t do nothing about it because she’s 16 years old,” he said.
In fact, 16 is the age of consent in Arkansas. There was nothing law enforcement officers could do. So Kitchens started a public awareness campaign, putting a sign up that reads, "Danger! Child molester lives in first house on the right.”
It lists the man's last name at the bottom. Kitchens and his co-workers said they were getting a lot of attention for the sign. It also got shared on social media.
They hope it helped spread a message and will push lawmakers to raise the age of consent to 18.
“I want awareness put to other parents so they don’t have to go through what I've gone through the last few days,” Kitchens said.
“It’s going viral. That’s what we want it to do,” said Marcus Rickman, who also works at the tire shop.
But not everyone who drives by is sympathetic.
“The only thing he can really do is be mad at his daughter. He can't be mad at that guy,” Matt Malone said.
Kitchens said his daughter stopped seeing the 21-year-old and she’s traumatized. She’ll probably have to go to therapy.
WREG spoke with state lawmakers who said they were not yet prepared to comment on the issue.