Published August 15. 2013 11:15AM Updated August 15. 2013 11:47PM
New London Superior Court Judge Susan B. Handy dismissed sexual assault charges against former school psychologist and administrator Allison M. Robinson Thursday based on the recent discovery by the state that the statute of limitations in the case had expired.
“You are free to go,” Handy told Robinson, 38, of New London, who left immediately with a small group of supporters.
State police charged Robinson in May 2011 with sexually assaulting a middle school student while working as a school psychologist in East Lyme in 2000 and 2001. The victim told his attorney about the incidents, and the attorney, Thomas Simones, contacted state police.
The state had prosecuted Robinson under the impression that the case fell under a 2002 Public Act that amended the statute of limitations on juvenile sexual assault cases to allow rape victims who are minors to come forward for up to 30 years after they reach the age of majority.
Prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman, in reviewing the case, discovered the 30-year statute does not apply retroactively to Robinson’s case as a result of a 2012 Connecticut Appellate Court decision, State v. Brundage. Ferryman notified the court and Robinson’s attorneys from the Pattis Law Firm.
Attorney Heather E. Rolfes filed a motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations issue and Ferryman said in court Friday that she was not opposing the dismissal, since “the Appellate Court has spoken.” She noted her lack of opposition did not reflect on any weaknesses in the state’s case.
“This case in the state’s mind is a very strong case in the facts,” Ferryman said.
The judge said the Appellate decision is “quite clear.”
The alleged victim, now 26, has also brought a civil lawsuit against Robinson and school officials, claiming that as a result of the sexual assaults, he has suffered a wide range of negative symptoms, including emotional distress, low self-esteem, distrust of people and trouble dealing with authority figures.
He was 13 or 14 years old when he met Robinson, then known as Allison Hitte, while attending mandatory counseling for anger management, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The state alleged Robinson solicited a personal and sexual relationship with the boy, providing him and his friends with alcohol and nitrous oxide (an inhalant), and having sex with the boy in her office at the middle school, in her car, at state parks and forests, and at her parents’ home in Rhode Island.
Prior to the discovery that the charges were brought outside the statute of limitations, Robinson was mulling an offer to plead guilty in exchange for a six-month prison sentence and strict probation.