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Prosecutors file to dismiss case against teacher accused of fondling students

February 19, 2020 News Extra

Prosecutors have filed to dismiss a case against a Slippery Rock Middle School math teacher accused of fondling four of his students, according to court documents.

State police originally filed charges against Robert P. Willison, 51, in October 2018 following an investigation sparked by a complaint filed in September through ChildLine, the state's avenue for people to report suspected child abuse.

School administrators suspended Willison following accusations that he inappropriately touched the buttocks of the schoolgirls. But in the Wednesday filing, Assistant District Attorney Laura Pitchford, who is prosecuting the case for the Butler County District Attorney's Office, wrote in the filing that “due to circumstances beyond the commonwealth's control, it is requested a nolle prosequi be entered.” The filing must be signed by Common Pleas Judge Timothy McCune before the case is officially dropped.

“We weren't confident that we could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Pitchford said. “When we filed the charges, we felt we had good evidence. But as the case progressed, we felt the evidence got weaker.”

This is a breaking news report — subscribe online or in print to read the full article that will appear in Thursday's Butler Eagle.