Prosecutor Will Appeal Loss Of Evidence In Case Against Ex-Theater Director

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The Franklin County Prosecutor says he will appeal a judge's ruling that some evidence against an Upper Arlington instructor be thrown out.

Lawrence Dibble, the former theater director at The Wellington School in Upper Arlington, is accused of fondling a former student and using a hidden camera to tape girls in a dressing room, 10TV's Andy Hirsch reported on Friday.

Prosecutors planned to use the videos as evidence in the case, but a judge ordered them thrown out because information found on the initial police report did not match information on a search warrant used to seize items from Dibble's home.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said a judge's decision to throw out some of the evidence supporting 20 voyeurism charges against Dibble "guts" his case.

"We don't have a case without the videotape," O'Brien said.  "Everything begins and ends with the video tape and if that's suppressed we don't have sufficient evidence."

The judge threw out the evidence, after it was discovered that the investigating officer wrote on his report that there was one victim, but that the officer told another judge, who signed the search warrant, that there were two, Hirsch reported.

Prosecutors said the detective's error was not intentional, and that there was no intent to mislead the judge who signed off on the search warrant.

It turned out that the alleged second victim was 18-years-old, and having a consensual relationship with Dibble, and the detective admitted knowing those details.

The detective said he called her a victim in his report because he thought there was a chance he could charge Dibble with something in connection with their relationship.

Regardless of what happens with the appeal, Dibble will still face one count of gross sexual imposition. 

J. Scott Weisman, Dibble's attorney, called the officer's statements "false and misleading."

"The judge absolutely suppressed the evidence because he found the detective used false and misleading statements in the affidavit to obtain the search evidence," Weisman said.

Through his attorney, Dibble declined to comment.

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Previous Stories:

July 2, 2010: Evidence Tossed Out In Case Against Ex-Theater Director
March 31, 2010:  Former Theater Director Out Of Jail After Voyeurism Charges
March 30, 2010: Ex-Theater Director Accused Of Taping Students Turns Self In
March 29, 2010:  New Voyeurism Charges Filed Against Ex-Wellington Staffer
February 23, 2010: Sex Investigation Into Wellington Staffer Expanding
February 4, 2010: Man Facing Sexual Imposition Charges Never Applied For Ohio Teaching License
February 4, 2010: Wellington Staffer Charged With Gross Sexual Imposition
February 3. 2010: Man Accused Of Fondling Student