A judge has dismissed child rape charges against a former Milton Academy teacher accused of molesting a student in the 1980s.
Reynold Buono, 72, was returned to the U.S. from Thailand last summer to face charges including rape of a child and rape of a child with force after being named in sealed indictments in 2017.
A judge issued an order last week dismissing the charges against Buono, saying prosecutors "failed to meet the evidentiary threshold required of child sexual assault cases that fall outside the 27-year statute of limitations."
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Prosecutors now have 30 days to weigh their options.
Outside the courthouse on Wednesday, NBC10 Boston asked Buono," Anything to say to the students who accused you?" Buono did not respond.
Buono left Milton Academy in 1987 and had been living in southeast Asia for a number of years.
Milton Academy said in February 2017 that independent investigators had determined that Buono, who headed the school's theater program for more than a decade, molested at least a dozen male students. An attorney for Buono rejected the findings of the investigation at the time.
Milton Academy has said that former headmaster Jerome Pieh "had some knowledge" of the misconduct, but that he took no action until 1987, when Buono admitted to the molestation and was fired.
One of the victims, Jamie Forbes, told NBC10 Boston that Buono assaulted him at the age of 14 during a school bike trip through Italy. After a night of drinking, Forbes bunked with the teacher.
"All of a sudden, his hand started roaming around on my body," Forbes said. "It was ... it was sort of ... it was a terrifying experience because I certainly felt like, 'What did I do to make him think I'd be interested?'"
Forbes said the abuse continued for six more months after his mother, not knowing about the incident, asked the school if Buono could be his adviser.
Milton Academy released a statement Wednesday night.
"While we respect this decision of the court, and the legal process and constraints under which it was made, we are deeply saddened that Buono’s survivors and others affected by his egregious transgressions may not receive the justice they deserve," the statement said.
The letter is signed by head of school Todd B. Bland and board of trustees president Lisa Donohue.