Matar Enters Not Guilty Plea

Posted: June 23, 2014 at 9:27 a.m.
Updated: June 23, 2014 at 9:38 a.m.

— A former Bentonville Schood District employee pleaded not guilty Monday to charges accusing him of sexually abusing three students.

Ali Matar Jr., 21, of Lowell entered the plea during his arraignment before Circuit Judge Brad Karren. Matar is charged with two counts of rape, a Class Y felony, and sexual assault in the second degree, a Class B felony.

Prosecutors filed the charges Monday morning shortly before his arraignment.

The judge scheduled Matar's jury trial to begin Jan. 27.

Matar worked as an Adventure Club leader for the district since October. He was fired after his arrest.

Matar was first arrested May 14 in connection with raping a 5-year-old student at R.E. Baker Elementary School.

He was arrested a few days later in connection with sexually abusing two 6 year-old girls at R.E. Baker Elementary. The parents of the two girls came forward with concerns after Matar 's first arrest, said Police Chief Jon Simpson.

Matar is being held on $250,000 bond in the Benton County Jail.

Adventure Club is run by the School District's Childcare Enrichment Services. It offers child care 6 to 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 to 6 p.m. during the school year for students in kindergarten through sixth grade at each of the district's elementary and middle schools.