Charges have been dropped against a former Shattuck-St. Mary's School teacher who had been accused of abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1980.
Joseph Machlitt, 63, was facing criminal sexual conduct charges after a former student of the Faribault boarding school came forward with the accusations last fall. The allegations were made after another former Shattuck teacher, Lynn Seibel, was charged with sexually abusing six male students in the early 2000s. Seibel remains in jail.
The charges against Machlitt were dropped because Minnesota law doesn't allow sexual abuse cases dating that far back to be prosecuted, Machlitt's attorney, Anthony Torres said.
Torres said he researched similar cases as well as changes to Minnesota law and concluded that most alleged incidents of criminal sexual conduct older than 1989 can no longer be prosecuted. Torres filed motions in court asking for the case to be dismissed, and Rice County prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charges, he said.
Torres said Minnesota law was changed in 1989 to give prosecutors up to three years from the time a victim reports allegations to police to file sexual abuse charges.
He said Machlitt and his wife are relieved the case is over.
"They were ecstatic, obviously, because they want to try to get their life back together," he said.