Iowa man's sex assault charges dropped; judge blames prosecutor

An Iowa judge cited the courthouse arrest of a drunken prosecutor in dismissing charges against a man accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy.

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 1:17 PM

OSCEOLA, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge cited the courthouse arrest of a drunken prosecutor in dismissing charges against a man accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy.

Judge Marti Mertz issued the ruling Monday while chastising Clarke County Attorney Michelle Rivera. The judge says Rivera's unavailability at a recent hearing "was the finale following unexplained periods of inactivity and lack of responsiveness" since the man's arrest more than a year ago.

Rivera was arrested for being drunk in an Osceola courtroom on Oct. 18, moments before the man was scheduled to enter a new plea and be sentenced.

The man later sought a dismissal because he hadn't been tried within a year of his arraignment. Investigators say the man admitting engaging in a sex act with a minor.

Rivera and her attorney didn't immediately return messages Tuesday from The Associated Press.

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