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Charges against accused math teacher narrowed

June 19, 2019 News Extra

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Robert P. Willison, 51, exiting District Judge Bill O'Donnell's courtroom after posting bond, Monday Oct. 29, 2018.

Prosecutors are looking to narrow the number of charges against a Slippery Rock Middle School math teacher accused of fondling four of his students from 20 to five.

State police filed charges against Robert P. Willison, 51, in late 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.

“He's facing the same charges, with the same penalties,” Assistant District Attorney Laura Pitchford said, noting that the reduction in charges doesn't mean that the prosecution is dropping charges against Willison. “They were originally filed as consolidated charges but they were split (during the preliminary arraignment) to reflect each victim.”

During a Wednesday hearing in Butler County Common Pleas Court before Judge Timothy McCune, the District Attorney's Office requested consolidating charges against Willison and reducing the number of counts to the original five.

Willison faces felony charges of institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children, a summary charge of harassment and a misdemeanor charge of indecent assault.

This is an excerpt from a story in Thursday's Butler Eagle.

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