SRO arrested for sexually assaulting teen

BAXTER COUNTY, Ark. – A Baxter County Sheriff’s Deputy who was a school resource officer was announced arrested Friday, in a press release which called the alleged acts “consensual.”

Matthew Guthrie, 33, is facing seven felony sexual assault charges for having sex with a student. He confessed his crimes to the sheriff’s department, a release said.

Guthrie was SRO for Cotter Public Schools. His code of ethics prohibited him from engaging in sexual contact with a 16-year old.

A parent made the discovery and contacted the prosecuting attorney. From there, Arkansas State Police were asked to investigate.

Here is the full press release from the Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery.

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office today has the unpleasant task of announcing the arrest of Deputy MATTHEW GUTHRIE, who served as a School Resource Officer at the Cotter Public Schools.  The arrest comes about as the result of an accusation of sexual misconduct between GUTHRIE and a 16 year old student who attends Cotter Public Schools.

     The allegation was made to the Prosecuting Attorney by a parent of the child, and the Prosecuting Attorney requested that the Arkansas State Police conduct a criminal investigation into the complaint.  The Sheriff’s Office learned yesterday, July 25th, of these accusations, and then joined and began assisting with this criminal investigation.

     The victim was interviewed, and she assisted investigators with gathering evidence to substantiate the allegations.  Today, July 26th, MATTHEW GUTHRIE was interviewed by Investigators, and he made a full confession to the truthfulness of the allegations.  Information indicates that GUTHRIE and the victim engaged in consensual 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.  MATTHEW GUTHRIE was hired by the Sheriff’s Office as a Jailer in January, 2016 and was transferred to the position of School Resource Officer on January 12, 2017.

     After conferring with the Prosecuting Attorney, MATTHEW GUTHRIE, 33 years old, was arrested and is being charged with seven counts of Sexual Assault in the First Degree, which are Class A Felony charges.  With the recommendation of the Prosecuting Attorney and the approval of the court, the bond was set at $100,000 on these charges, along with special conditions prohibiting GUTHRIE from having further contact with the victim.  GUTHRIE is being booked into the Baxter County Detention Center pending the posting of bond.  GUTHRIEwas also fired from his position with the Sheriff’s Office this morning.

     The Sheriff’s Office and all of its officers and employees are deeply disturbed and shocked that this has occurred and will erode public confidence in this office.  We strive each day to serve the public in a professional and ethical manner.  When something like this happens it is taken very seriously and immediately acted upon.  The fate of MATTHEW GUTHRIE now lies in the hands of the judicial system, and we expect that he will be treated no differently than any other person facing these kinds of serious charges.

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