Other Potential Victims Questioned In School Rape Investigation

A Bentonville family says their six-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by former school district employee Ali Matar at Willowbrook Elementary School.

The girl is among six or seven children being interviewed by police in a sexual assault investigation that reaches beyond R.E. Baker Elementary School, where three alleged victims said Matar raped or sexually assaulted them, authorities said.

Matar was an employee for the Bentonville School District’s Adventure Club, an after-school program at several local schools. He was fired May 19 following his arrest on suspicion of rape May 14.

Police have not confirmed any other alleged victims in the case, but continue to question kids from other schools.

There are three children police said they so far believe are victims in the case—a five year old and two six year olds at R.E. Baker Elementary. All of the alleged victims are girls.

Matar, 21, remains in the Benton County Jail on $250,000 bond. He faces two charges of rape and one charge of sexual assault. His arraignment is scheduled for June 24, according to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

Bentonville School District Supt. Michael Poore said the district is working with the Children’s Advocacy Center and Bentonville police to help parents talk to their children about the allegations. He said Bentonville High School will host a parent forum on the subject Thursday at 7 p.m.

Matar’s May 14 arrest on suspicion of rape concerned a single alleged victim. Court documents state Matar sexually assaulted the girl while the two were alone in R.E. Baker Elementary School’s library. Police on May 23 announced that two other potential victims had come forward.

The suspect worked at four schools in the Bentonville School District, including Baker, Willowbrook, Apple Glen and Elm Tree elementary schools. Poore said employees at the after-school program are supposed to work in pairs, but that did not happen at least in the initial rape case.

Matar could face 25 to 40 years in prison for each rape charge and five to 20 years behind bars for the sexual assault charge, if convicted.


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