Former Benton County sheriff’s deputy pleads innocent in sexual assault case

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

BENTONVILLE -- A former Benton County sheriff's deputy pleaded innocent to sexually assaulting a fellow employee at the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

Matthew Cline, 38, of Rogers is charged with sexual assault.

He was scheduled to appear Wednesday morning in Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren's court for his arraignment, but instead entered his plea through paperwork.

Cline, who is free on $20,000 bond, was fired in January and arrested in February.

His termination and 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.

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.

Cline's next court appearance is set for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 29.