Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputy fired, then arrested in connection with sexual assault

Holloway seeks decertification for Cline after sexual assault allegation

Matthew Cline, a former Benton County sheriff's deputy, was arrested Wednesday in connection with second-degree sexual assault.

BENTONVILLE -- A recently fired Benton County Sheriff's Office deputy was arrested Wednesday in connection with second-degree sexual assault.

Matthew Cline, 38, of Rogers turned himself in to the Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Office. He was released Thursday on $20,000 bond, said Lt. Shannon Jenkins, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.

Cline's termination and subsequent arrest are connected to an incident captured by a Sheriff's Office security camera on Jan. 26, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A sheriff's captain who investigated the incident said in the affidavit the video shows Cline leaning on a counter next to a female employee who was seated at a computer. Cline then reached across the woman's body and touched some papers on the counter to the woman's right. As he brought his hand back, he quickly fondled the woman's left breast, according to the affidavit.

The woman in the video appeared shocked by what had happened, the affidavit states.

The victim, in an interview with the captain, said she repeatedly asked Cline why he would do that. She told the captain Cline didn't say anything and "just kind of stood there," according to the affidavit.

Sheriff Shawn Holloway ordered an internal and criminal investigation into Cline's actions upon learning of the incident around 11:40 a.m. Jan. 26, according to the release. Cline was fired about 2 p.m. that day based on the findings of the investigation, the release states.

A warrant for Cline's arrest was issued after results of the investigation were sent to the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Holloway also submitted paperwork to the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training for Cline's decertification, according to the release.

"Sheriff Holloway is deeply disturbed by the actions of one of his employees and does not condone this type of behavior," the release states.

Cline was employed with the Sheriff's Office starting in January 2017. His ending salary was $53,529, according to Melody Kwok, communications director for Benton County.

Sexual assault in the second degree is a Class B felony. Cline is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on March 20.