Three misdemeanor assault charges against a former Wythe County school teacher were dropped on April 17 in Wythe County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

One-time Fort Chiswell High School Spanish teacher Zachary Wade Carter, 25, of Rural Retreat was arrested last July after three students accused him of unwanted contact, or touching, beginning on Aug. 10, 2016, and ending on May 25, when the allegations were reported to the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office

In an email, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney David Saliba said the allegations weren’t sexual, and that all three accusers were the subject of a cyber bullying campaign by fellow students who supported Carter, which was also investigated.

“Because the instructor resigned his position, and had no prior record, this office deferred to the wishes of the parents and the victims, who preferred not to testify against the defendant,” the prosecutor wrote. “Accordingly, the Defendant completed a 50 hour sexual harassment training course, complied with a no contact order with the three victims, and had no further violations of law. As a result of his compliance, the court dismissed the charge(s).”

Carter worked at Fort Chiswell from August 2016 until he submitted his resignation effective June 30, 2017.

Sexual assault charge dropped

A 2016 felony sexual assault charge against a Speedwell man was dropped on April 19 in Wythe County General District Court.

Arrested on Nov. 16, 2016, 52-year-old Michael Ray Hale was charged with animate object sexual penetration of a person who is incapacitated or physically helpless.

According to police and the arrest warrants, a woman made the allegation to the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office after going to Wythe County Community Hospital on Oct. 29, 2016.

The woman told officers that the assault happened in the Cripple Creek area.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney David Saliba said the charge was dropped because of an “excessive” delay in getting lab results.

On the same day his charge was dropped, Hale and another person submitted DNA swabs for comparison testing, Saliba said.

“Once that testing is complete, we will determine whether the commonwealth will pursue any additional charges against Mr. Hale or other parties,” Saliba wrote in an email. “The office consulted at length with the victim before taking this action.”

Medicaid charges dropped

Multiple felony charges of Medicaid fraud and conspiracy against three Wythe County residents have been dropped in Wythe County Circuit Court.

An order dropping the charges against 48-year-old Ellen Marie Frazier Parks of Wytheville, 65-year-old Mary Elizabeth Frazier of Max Meadows and 45-year-old Harry Thomas Blair Jr. of Max Meadows was filed on April 24.

The three were indicted on April 18, 2016.

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