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CHELAN P.E. TEACHER CLEARED

For more than three years, a retired Chelan Physical Education teacher had been living with a child molestation charge hanging over his head. But no longer. Jack Leeroy Rutter has been cleared after Chelan County prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charge on Wednesday, after Rutter's attorney Brandon Redal found contradictory evidence, including statements from eyewitnesses.


Rutter, who's now 72, had been charged with sexually abusing a student at Morgen Owings Elementary School during physical education classes beginning around 2010, based on an allegation the student made to sheriff's deputies nine years later. Rutter was arrested in May 2019, and prosecutors filed the single felony charge a week later.


The abuse purportedly occurred roughly once a week in a P.E. supply room during the class. But Redal and private investigator Darin Darnell, a former East Wenatchee police detective, interviewed fellow teachers, former students and a retired paraprofessional who regularly attended Rutter's P.E. classes in the course of her job.


Redal said no one provided corroborating accounts, and the paraprofessional said Rutter never left the class unattended for the lengths of time described in the criminal allegation.


Redal told NCW Life, "I just think that there were a lot of red flags that — I don't know if they were ignored or if they just weren't seen."

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