School Officials: Employee Was Alone With Young Girl In Library When Accused Rape Happened

A Lowell man has been arrested on suspicion of raping a 5-year-old girl at R.E.Baker Elementary School in Bentonville, police said.

Ali Martin Matar, 21, was arrested on Wednesday (May 14) after an incident at his place of employment, the school district’s Adventure Club Program at the elementary school, police said.

Authorities confirmed that the child rape happened within the last 30 days from Saturday (May 10), when it was reported.

(Click here to read the suspect’s probable cause affidavit)

Court documents state that Matar tickled the girl inappropriately while they were alone in the library.

A check of Matar’s criminal record showed no arrests or convictions in the past, according to court documents.

The suspect, Matar, worked at three other schools in the Bentonville School District, according to the school’s superintendent, Michael Poore. The superintendent also confirmed that employees at the after-school program are supposed to work in pairs, but that didn’t happen with this child-rape case.

The three schools Matar worked at in the past were Elm Tree Elementary School, Apple Glen Elementary School and Willowbrook Elementary School, according to the superintendent.

Adventure Club is a childcare program within the Bentonville School District offered by Childcare Enrichment Services for school-age children from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., according to the Bentonville Public School District’s website.

Bentonville Public Schools Childcare Enrichment Services is a non-profit organization that includes programs like Adventure Club, Building Bridges and Parents As Teachers.

Childcare Enrichment Services is a nonprofit program that was started by Bentonville Public Schools. They have a total of 59 employees, 886 children and their budget for 2014 is $1,951,488, according to the program’s director.

The service is available for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Martin was arrested after an investigation that started with a tip received via a child abuse hotline, police said.

He is being held in the Benton County Jail without bond and has a hearing in Benton County Circuit Court on June 23, according to the Sheriff’s Office website.

The investigation did not reveal any evidence of other victims, police said.

A letter was sent home to parents about the results of the investigation. To read that letter, click here.

The suspect faces class y felony and 25-40 years in prison, according to authorities.

The school superintendent said the Adventure Club program will continue today and in the future. The superintendent also said the school district will seek the termination of the child rape suspect at the May school board meeting. He said Matar is suspended with pay.

Parents in the area said they were shocked to hear the news.

“It’s scary that it’s always the people you expect the least,” Ashley Bell said, “Because I know some people that also know the kid, and they said they never would have expected this from him.”

Gina Roughton has two daughters in Bentonville School District and said her heart goes out to the family, and that this incident may be a lesson on who to trust.

“Children just need to know that no matter who is around them, they need to be alert of odd situations, and be alert that even the best of a person can be their enemy,” Roughton said.

Anyone with additional information is encouraged to call the Bentonville Police Department at 479-271-3170.

30 comments

  • Kuwnda

    Not so fast. Kids can say crazy things with coachings from money hungry parents. Let’s focus on real evidence and let the police/courts sniff out reality.

  • John

    Why is when someone that us not white and does something people have to comment on his race? There where two white deputies who just committed some crimes nobody is commenting on their race. Oh let me guess it’s because there just sick and it has nothing to do with his race.

  • Kuwnda

    Cops arrested the first man in the Nona Dirksmeyer murder. DNA proved him innocent, cops changed their minds about the first and arrested a second man. He was proved innocent also. Now cops are looking for the third random man to charge.

    • No excuses

      What does that have to do with this case? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! 99.9% of the time they arrest the correct person. You must be someone they arrest quite often to have such a negative opinion about it.

      • Kuwnda

        I have never been arrested in my life. I had two speeding tickets 20 years ago and that is it.
        The point is to show that cops can be wrong in an arrest.

  • Anonymous

    He’s not even an Arab. Idiots. He’s a Hispanic. He’s also innocent until proven guilty.

    • Jcar

      Ok Tools. The name “Ali Matar” IS of Egyptian and or United Arab Emirates orgin. For you race crybabies, I was not bringing the race card but just stating the obvious Arabic name. Yes, the man is innocent until proven guilty by law and I wish that this was not true but they (police/ authorities) usually get it close to right with evidence before they arrest you.

      • Anonymous Bystander

        I would like to say while his name LOOKS that of Arab descent…it’s not. I went to BHS with him and he is Hispanic. We were close with his family..

  • Fed up

    If he is proven guilty it should be the death penalty. I am sick and tired of all of these perverts raping our young children. It is time to rid society of this trash.

  • soonerfan

    Race has nothing to do with this. If he is guilty Hang him. If he is innocent his name is ruined because some people have him guilty already.

  • Unknown

    First, why is that when it comes to Race theres a big difference in comments. Second, we don’t even know if he did it or not.. It clearly says “suspicion” does not mean that he did it; there has to be evidence.

  • anon

    People. These comments are ridiculous. Innocent til proven guilty. This is a suspicion not a proven case. After working and being around kids I’ve learned that children this age are not as fully capable to separate their own ideas with another’s or an authority figure or adult, especially if an idea is pushed around. If you do not know him or have done no wrong in your whole life and being, you should not cast a stone. And people whom havr known him for a long time, have commented on this act of suspicion being out of charcter. And above all, some children do not like being tickled in general or when they are upset. So they are likely to say something negative. As a childcare provider, I have tried to cheer up a child with ticking. And some do cheer up and some would prefer to be left alone. So once again, do not judge this man for a suspicion that has already soiled his name.

    • Larry

      As a child care provider, you should know not to “tickle” a child to cheer them up. I would not want you to do so to any of my progeny.

  • Dick Peters

    Well….glad to see another hispanic in the news for raping a child in just 2 days. Let’s keep the Mexicans rolling in…it’s an act of love according to Jeb Bush….lolololol

    • webbery1

      Yes and the Obama administration just ordered the release of 36,000 illegals with some of them being even worse than what this guy was accused of. Killers are among us with the OK of our fearless leader. We all need to wake up fast.

  • Sad Reality

    Whether this person is found guilty or not, the very unfortunate reality is that most sexual predators plead to a felony charge, but are rarely sentenced to any jail time let alone capital punishment. If you don’t believe me follow up on any case you have seen in the last few years and follow it to sentencing. It is not easy, by the way, so I am guessing you won’t do it, but if you did you’ll find the perpetrator living among us and on the sexual offender list. But that is all the punishment they will receive. It is ridiculous. You will find people of all walks of life in this group, and many may be people you know or live near, and maybe even trust. They can be your doctor, your personal trainer, your child’s teacher, coach or your best friend. It is really scary….This child may have been brave enough to come forward at the first offense, but for everyone that does, there are hundreds or thousands that will never come forward. Many for exactly the reasons posted above. They believe they will be ridiculed, mocked, blamed and shunned. Too often when to do come forward, their fears become reality. The system that is set up to protect them, may inflict more pain than the offense itself. With all the improvements in the sexual offense laws, the sad reality is that the offender often has more rights than the victim. Stop hatefully debating this person’s guilt or innocence, when you have no power to determine if it even gets to trial. If you are really outraged by all of this elect a prosecutor who will make sure offenders don’t get a second chance to do it again. Talk with or write to your state legislator to get laws changed. If you don’t know who that is, go to Arkansas.gov to find out. Their phone numbers are listed and so are there emails. Call them, email them and follow up.

  • MDS

    We will wait to see the truth. For now and forever, it is in Gods hands. From what I know of him, he is a good guy. And I will still trust that he is until hard evidence is proven. Even then it is not our place to judge. And people that bring race into it are immature. We are talking about a baby girl possibly being hurt and you’re worried about skin color?? Grow up.

    • Tammy

      Channel 5 did have the probable cause report linked to the article yesterday and “Mr Ollie” admitted to the Bentonville officers that he did molest the child in the school library. So his innocence is null and void. I truly hope he is prosecuted with the fullest extent of the law. Schools should be a safe place for children and parents alike. This situation should have never been allowed to happen period.

  • Lovenews

    Lots of comments relate to not bringing race into the discussion…thats sensible…then a comment from MDS about ‘it is in Gods hands’…such nonsense…it’s in the hands of the judicial system…no mythical entity plays a part in this…

  • Sarah 1

    Race need never be mentioned. If guilty as charged, lock him up. Typing race-baiting comments is a waste and intentionally energizes the hypocrites.
    I hope the little girl gets the needed support she deserves.

  • soonerfan

    I said earlier race has nothing to do with . If guilty he should pay for it. But also get the child some help. That poor baby will always have this on her mind.

  • Kuwnda

    I personally think he did it, but you have to go by facts and evidence. Someday you might be on a jury, or at there mercy of a jury. I have been on three jury trials, one was murder. You have to be objective.

  • Luaha

    First of all he isn’t an Arab, so quit bring race into it. Knowing him personally he wouldn’t do anything as bad as this, if your daughter got “raped” then shouldn’t you take more action then just calling the hotline. Please someone is trying to get an innocent person in jail. Take your child to the hospital report it to the police station thats the way to do it. There is no evidence proving he did it.

  • Toni

    Innocent until proven guilty, oh by they way he is not Arab but hey why let a little thing like facts get in the way of your stupidity

  • Teacher from another district

    School employees get training on child abuse at the beginning of the year. We are required by law to submit reports to the child abuse hotline if we strongly suspect or have evidence of a child being abused. If it was someone from the school who made the report, they were following state law guidelines. School employees have been fired at other schools in the past for reporting accusations, whether founded or not. The law is to protect the school employees from retaliation for doing the right thing. If he is innocent, the facts will acquit him. But if he is guilty, then shouldn’t you be glad that someone made that report, anonymously or other wise? The safety of the children should be our number one priority. I didn’t want to believe my favorite teacher was guilty of molesting one of my friends. Then, he was arrested in an FBI sting of online child predators. Caught red handed! We don’t always know people like we think we do. Have faith that the system will work as it is designed to. Please don’t criticize the use of a critical tool like the abuse hotline.

  • absolutely123

    He is from a Jewish background.. Let the cops do their work, it is not your place or my place to judge him. You comments are not only racial and discriminating, they are irrelevant. If you have something to say, be a mature citizen about it.

  • Jcar

    He has an Arabic name. Quit crying race! Your comments are more Irrelevant for taking up for the POS suspect instead of the little child/girl Victim.

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