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Benton Co. deputy charged with sexually assaulting coworker pleaded not guilty

Benton County deputy Matthew Cline was fired after he was charged with second-degree sexual assault.

BENTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — On Sept. 11, Benton County deputy Matthew Cline pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting his coworker.

Cline was arrested and charged with sexual assault after “inappropriate behavior” was reported to the sheriff on Jan. 26.

In a statement released on Feb. 9, spokesperson for the sheriff's department Lt. Shannon Jenkins said the incident happened toward another employee and was reported at 11:40 a.m. on Jan. 26.

Cline was fired by 2 p.m. that day, and a criminal investigation was also ordered by Sheriff Shawn Holloway. Holloway also ordered Cline's decertification to CLEST, the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. He was a training coordinator at the sheriff's office.

The investigation was sent to the Benton County prosecutor for review, who issued a warrant for Cline's arrest, Jenkins said.

According to the affidavit of probable cause to arrest Cline, the alleged assault was caught on the sheriff's office cameras, which was reviewed by Captain Thomas See with the department.

The affidavit released was redacted in part, which is mostly noted in the description See gives of his interview with Cline about the alleged assault. Cline's response to See asking him “why he did what he did” was redacted. When See says he told Cline that “this was a sexual assault,” Cline's response is redacted.

However, See goes on to say “it is apparent Matthew was the one that touched her,” and that “it looks as if Matthew was not remorseful.”

The BCSO stated that “Sheriff Holloway is deeply disturbed by the actions of one of his employees and does not condone this type of behavior. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office has many dedicated men and women who Sheriff Holloway is proud of for their service to the citizens of Benton County.”

Cline reportedly turned himself in on Feb. 8, and was booked on charges of sexual assault in the second degree. A no-contact order was issued on Feb. 8, where Cline is ordered to stay 1,500 feet away from the victim and can't contact her in any way.

Documents say that under sexual assault in the second degree, a person must engage in sexual contact with another person by forcible compulsion.

5NEWS will update this article with more information as it becomes available.

RELATED: Docs: Footage shows Benton Co. deputy sexually assaulted coworker

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