Judge dismisses charges against Avondale teacher accused of raping special-ed teen

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AVONDALE, Ariz. -- A judge has dismissed charges against an Avondale teacher who was arrested for allegedly raping a special-education student earlier this year.

Brian Willner, 36, was arrested at his home back in early May for an assault that allegedly happened in late March or early April. The Agua Fria High School teacher, who headed up the special-ed department, was charged with kidnapping, sexual abuse and sexual conduct with minor.

On Thursday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Paul McMurdie dismissed all of those charges after the Maricopa County Attorney's Office discovered information that caused it to drop its case. Prosecutors have not said anything more about that apparently exculpatory information.

According to a police report, the 15-year-old student told her mother about the alleged rape on April 16. She said Willner pulled her out of class, took her to his office and raped her. The mother subsequently took her daughter to the hospital, where an examination did turn up evidence of possible rape, including internal bruising and cuts. In addition, both Willner and the teen who made the accusation tested positive for Chlamydia.

Willner's lawyer said his client's first test result was a false-positive. Richard Lougee said when tested at a different clinic, both Willner and his wife of eight years tested negative for the sexually transmitted disease.

Court documents show Lougee had also questioned the teen's credibility, point out that she has history of making various accusations against teachers. Lougee also said the teen's story changed each time she told it.

The charges against Willner, who had no criminal history, were dismissed without prejudice, which means they can be re-filed in the future.

According to the district superintendent, officials will be meeting with Willner within the next several days to discuss his future with the district. He's been on paid administrative leave since his arrest.