School resource officer arrested for sexual misconduct

Updated: Jul. 26, 2019 at 8:10 PM CDT
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BAXTER COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - A Baxter County sheriff’s deputy has been placed under arrest.

According to a news release issued by the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, 33-year-old Deputy Matthew Guthrie has been arrested on suspicion of sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old student.

The allegation was made to the Prosecuting attorney by a parent of the child, who then requested that the Arkansas State Police conduct a criminal investigation into the complaint.

The sheriff’s office learned of the accusations Thursday and began assisting with the criminal investigation.

The victim was interviewed and assisted investigators with gathering evidence to substantiate the allegations.

Guthrie was interviewed by investigators Friday and made a full confession.

The release states that Guthrie and the victim engaged in sexual activity multiple times at multiple locations between May and July of this year.

None of these encounters are believed to have taken place on school property.

As a public servant holding a position of trust and authority over students within the school system, Guthrie was prohibited by law and his code of ethics from having sexual conduct with any student, regardless of age or whether it was believed to be consensual or not.

Guthrie was hired by the sheriff’s office as a Jailer in January 2016 and transferred to the position of School Resource Officer at Cotter Public Schools on Jan. 12, 2017.

In a Facebook post Friday, Superintendent Vanessa Thomas Jones said she and the district were dismayed by the news and that Guthrie was not longer employed with the sheriff’s office nor associated with the district.

Dear Parents & Guardians, I am dismayed by a recent development, but want to inform you of the situation. A statement...

Posted by Cotter Public Schools on Friday, July 26, 2019

Guthrie is being charged with seven counts of sexual assault in the first degree.

His bond was set at $100,000, along with special conditions prohibiting him from having further contact with the victim.

Guthrie is being booked into the Baxter County Detention Center pending the posting of bond.

He was also fired from his position with the sheriff’s office Friday morning.

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