Owner of PlaySpanish arrested for indecent liberties with a child

The owner of PlaySpanish, a local Charlotte company that teaches Spanish to children, has been arrested after a 7-year-old girl and her parents claim he sexually assaulted her at a summer camp at a Dilworth church last summer. 

Ricardo Mata, 52, was taken into custody sometime between Friday and Saturday, March 17 and charged with indecent liberties with a child- lewd and lascivious. 

According to the police report, the alleged assault occurred during the week of July 17, 2017 at Covenant Presbyterian Church located in the 1000 block of East Morehead Street. 

The report states that Mata exposed his genitals to the child. According to a press release from CMPD, the young girl's parents went to police in February 2018 claiming that Mata sexually assaulted their daughter at the camp in July 2017.

Mata, who owns PlaySpanish, would teach children through tutoring, after-school programs, and camps. According to the Mecklenburg County Jail's website, Mata has been in custody since early Saturday morning. 

Several CMS schools and Charlotte-area daycares have offered PlaySpanish. The following schools and daycares are either listed on the PlaySpanish website or on the individual school websites as offering PlaySpanish:

  • Ballantyne Elementary
  • Dilworth Elementary
  • First United Methodist Church Child Development Center on N. Tryon St.
  • Myers Park Baptist Church Through-The-Week-School
  • Providence Baptist Church Weekday Education Ministry 
  • Steele Creek Presbyterian Church Child Development Center
  • Kids 'R' Kids - The Academy at Blakeney 


CMS released this statement on the incident, saying: 

CMS is committed to a safe environment for all students and staff, at all times. A case was brought to the attention of CMS leadership over the weekend regarding the arrest of an individual who last served as a volunteer with CMS in early December 2017. His volunteer status has been revoked and he is not allowed on any CMS campus in any capacity. The individual offered a Spanish language program. The case in which he has been arrested, did not occur on a CMS campus or involve his work with CMS.

This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with additional information concerning this case is asked to call Det. Lingle at (704) 336-4076 or Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600.