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Published: Friday, 8/8/2008

Ex-Washington Local teacher won't face trial in sex abuse case

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A criminal sexual-abuse charge against a former Washington Local Schools elementary teacher was dismissed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday, but Robert Wilson will not return to the classroom.

Mr. Wilson, 31, who at one time taught fourth grade at Monarch Elementary, was charged with gross sexual impositionbased on allegations that he inappropriately touched a female student. Yesterday, assistant prosecutors dropped the charge, citing evidence problems, and Mr. Wilson relinquished his teaching license.

The decision was made after consulting with the 10-year-old girl, her family, school district officials, and police, assistant County Prosecutor Jevne Meader told Judge Ruth Ann Franks yesterday.

"All interested parties were in agreement with the resolution," he said after the hearing. "Our analysis of the evidence at this time was that we may have been unable to meet our burden of proof at trial."

Mr. Wilson of 3205 Wendover Dr. was indicted by a Lucas County grand jury May 29 on the charge, for which conviction carries a maximum of five years in prison.

According to the indictment, the alleged incident occurred sometime during the week of Dec. 17-21.

Mr. Wilson, who taught in the district for 8 1/2 years, declined to comment after his court appearance yesterday. His attorney, Jay Feldstein, said that the prosecution and defense of cases like the charge his client faced are "extremely difficult for both sides."

"Obviously the prosecutors had some evidentiary concerns, but had this case gone to trial and had he been convicted, he was looking at mandatory prison time and the classification as a sex offender," Mr. Feldstein said. ".•.•.• My client made the decision that he would not pursue teaching in any capacity in any state, hence he was satisfied with the outcome."

Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer Lambdin pointed to Mr. Wilson's decision to relinquish his license as a guarantee that he no longer would work as an authority figure for students.

The school district issued a statement yesterday that outlined the allegation and Mr. Wilson's resignation.

According to the statement, signed by Superintendent Patrick Hickey, the district became aware of the sexual-abuse allegation Jan. 7, prompting officials to contact police and Lucas County Children Services. The district also conducted an internal investigation and immediately placed Mr. Wilson on administrative leave.

Through its own investigation, the district determined Mr. Wilson had violated the "district's acceptable computer-use policy." After being informed that the district intended to seek the termination of his employment, Mr. Wilson submitted his resignation Feb. 19.

Mr. Hickey said yesterday the agreement reached was made between the family and the legal system without the school district's involvement, but that the district stands behind what the parties involved decided.

"I am pleased that he has surrendered his teaching license," the superintendent added. "We moved very quickly to ensure that he would not be teaching in this district, and to work with the Ohio Department of Education in order to have them investigate revoking his teaching license."

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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