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Local News

February 5, 2014

Judge tosses ex-teacher's sex charges

The indictment accusing former Walton High School teacher Stephanie Fletcher of raping two male students has been dismissed by Delaware County Court Judge Carl F. Becker.

In a three-page decision obtained Tuesday by The Daily Star, Becker found that the grand jury that indicted Fletcher one year ago this week was “impaired” because it was not furnished with inconsistent statements made by one of the alleged victims.

Whether the special prosecutor handling the case will seek another indictment is not immediately clear. If he doesn’t, Fletcher is expected to end up with a clean slate, though without the job that had been her career.

In a case that rocked the Walton School District, Fletcher, then a 28-year-old married biology teacher, was arrested by state police investigators in November 2012 on charges she had sex with two 16-year-old boys enrolled at the school. The encounters allegedly took place near or inside the boys’ homes.

In one case, she allegedly had sex with a boy on a couch in his home, after she had gone there under the guise of tutoring him, according to a police complaint. She was also accused of texting photographs showing herself partially clothed.

The legal age of consent in New York is 17.

Fletcher retained the services of Binghamton criminal defense lawyer F. Paul Battisti.

In court papers filed in late December, Battisti argued the indictment was invalid because one of the youths had told Walton School District officials in July 2012 that the sexual interludes with Fletcher occurred during the spring break period of that year. At that point, Battisti wrote in court papers, the young man would have been 17 years old.

Although the youth’s written statement had been provided to the New York State Police and the Walton Police Department during the investigation, it was not given to the grand jury, “nor was the discrepancy of the alleged dates of the sexual intercourse disclosed to the grand jury,” Battisti said in the motion papers.

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