Charge dismissed for a teacher in sex case

Prosecutors in Washington state have dismissed a felony charge of sexual exploitation of a minor filed against a 62-year-old Maui teacher.

Maui High School teacher Thomas Takeuchi was arrested May 2012 and placed on paid leave. He has been a science and social studies teacher at Maui High since 1994.

The state Department of Education said Takeuchi will remain on paid leave pending an employment suitability review.

An official with the Whitman County prosecutor’s office told The Maui News on Thursday that the charge was dismissed on Sept. 20 because “good cause” existed.

“It is in the best interest of justice based upon the determination that the state would have had to call the alleged victim, who is a 6-year-old girl, to testify . . . two months after her mother died,” the official said.

The alleged incidents took place between July 10, 2011, and Oct. 8, 2011, the official said.

Reports said Takeuchi visited family in Washington in 2011.

The criminal charge stemmed from photos found on a child’s camera. Whitman County prosecutors alleged that Takeuchi photographed the then 4-year-old naked. The girl’s mother turned the photos over to police.

Takeuchi pleaded not guilty in June 2012. He has been free on his own recognizance.