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Sex charges could be dismissed against former counselor, administrator

By Karen Florin

Publication: The Day

Published July 24. 2013 4:00AM   Updated July 25. 2013 12:27AM

Former school psychologist and administrator Allison M. Robinson, who was facing the possibility of prison time for allegedly having an illegal sexual relationship with a middle school student, may be told at her next court appearance that her case is dismissed.

Defense attorney Heather E. Rolfes of the Pattis Law Firm has asked a New London Superior Court judge to dismiss the felony charges against Robinson because it appears the alleged crimes occurred outside of the statute of limitations.

Prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman said she would not oppose the motion to dismiss, which will be decided by Judge Susan B. Handy on Aug. 15. Ferryman said she would be notifying the victim.

State police charged Robinson in May 2011 with sexually assaulting a middle school student while working as a school psychologist in East Lyme in 2000 and 2001. The victim told his attorney about the incidents, and the attorney, Thomas Simones, contacted state police.

Robinson, a 38-year-old married mother of two, was working as assistant director of Waterford's Friendship School when she was charged with second-degree sexual assault, a felony, in 2011. She left the position and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The state charged Robinson under the impression that the case fell under a 2002 Public Act that amended the statute of limitations on juvenile sexual assault to allow rape victims who are minors to come forward for up to 30 years after they reach the age of majority.

The 30-year statute does not apply retroactively to Robinson's case as a result of a 2012 Connecticut Appellate Court decision, State v. Brundage, according to Rolfes' motion.

"As the offense occurred prior to the 2002 amendment, the state cannot take advantage of the extended statute of limitations," Rolfes wrote.

Instead, she wrote, a five-year statute of limitations applies.

Ferryman, the prosecutor, said State v. Brundage also involved a juvenile sexual assault case that was brought years after the alleged crime occurred.

"In light of State v. Brundage, which would appear to apply to the facts in our case as well, I don't plan to oppose the motion to dismiss," Ferryman said.

The victim was 13 or 14 years old when he met Robinson, then known as Allison Hitte, while attending mandatory counseling for anger management, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The state alleges Robinson solicited a personal and sexual relationship with the boy, providing him and his friends with alcohol and nitrous oxide (an inhalant), and having sex with the boy in her office at the middle school, in her car, at state parks and forests, and her at parents' home in Rhode Island.

Prior to the discovery that the charges were brought outside the statute of limitations, Robinson was mulling an offer to plead guilty in exchange for a six-month prison sentence and strict probation.

Attorneys for the victim, who is now 26, could not immediately be reached for comment. In addition to providing a statement for the criminal complaint against Robinson, he has also brought a civil lawsuit against Robinson and school officials, alleging that as a result of the sexual assaults, he has suffered a wide range of negative symptoms, including emotional distress, low self-esteem, distrust of people and trouble dealing with authority figures.

The civil case has been on hold until the criminal case is resolved.

k.florin@theday.com

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