Education

Criminal sex case against former Washington High School teacher is dismissed

The criminal case against a former Washington High School teacher accused last year of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student has been dismissed.

Court documents filed Wednesday in the case of former science teacher Christopher McKay, 31, said Pierce County prosecutors have been unable to contact the girl since December 2015.

Prosecutors made numerous attempts to serve her with a subpoena in person and by e-mail, and additional attempts were made to contact her by phone and e-mail, the documents state.

According to court papers, the girl is attending college and not living in the local area. They also state that her family told court officials she does not want to testify against McKay.

Without the teen’s testimony, prosecutors said, they cannot prove a case against McKay.

“He is glad it’s over,” said Brett Purtzer, McKay’s attorney. “These were serious charges. He’s ready to move on with his life.”

McKay had been charged with four counts of sexual misconduct with a minor after the girl told an assistant principal she had been having sex with Mckay, her sophomore biology teacher, since April 2014.

The charges were dismissed “without prejudice,” meaning prosecutors can refile the charges if the girl changes her mind and decides to cooperate with prosecutors or if new evidence surfaces.

After criminal charges surfaced, the Franklin Pierce School District fired McKay in April 2015. District officials also submitted a letter to state teacher licensing authorities about him in June.

Purtzer said McKay has lost his teaching license.

Asked whether McKay might seek to re-instate the license, Purtzer said he and his client had not had time to talk about that, because charges were dismissed only Wednesday.

School district spokesman Willie Painter said district officials were shocked by the news of the dismissal of the criminal case.

He said the decision to fire McKay was based on evidence the district gathered outside the criminal proceedings.

“The district still stands behind its decision to terminate Christopher McKay, as this action was based upon the totality of evidence collected,” Painter said.

Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635, @DebbieCafazzo

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