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Charges against Maui teacher accused of taking nude photos of girl are dropped

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 12:33 p.m. HST, Oct 02, 2013

Washington state prosecutors have dismissed charges against a 62-year-old Maui public school teacher accused of taking photos of a nude 4 year-old girl to spare her from having to testify in court.

The state Department of Education said Thomas K. Takeuchi, a social studies and science teacher at Maui High School since 1994, will remain on paid leave until "an employment suitability review" has been completed. Takeuchi was placed on leave when he was arrested in May 2012.

In addition to teaching, Takeuchi is a football referee.

Whitman County prosecutors on Sept. 20 dismissed with prejudice a felony sexual exploitation of a minor charge against Takeuchi. The maximum penalty for sexual exploitation of a minor -- a class B felony in Washington-- is 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. 

A spokeswoman for the Whitman prosecutors office said the case was closed because it didn't want to put "the victim through a traumatizing event of a trial forcing her to face her accuser."

Whitman County prosecutors charged Takeuchi with taking photos of the girl, who was 4 at the time, between July and October 2011. Takeuchi was visiting his family in Washington at the time.

The girl's mother found the photos in the child's camera in March 2012 and turned them over to police detectives in Pullman, Wash.

The victim told an  investigator that Takeuchi took the photos, and that when the pictures were found her mother told her that they were inappropriate.

Takeuchi was arrested May  2012 and was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor. He pleaded not guilty on June 7, 2012.  He was released on his own recognizance.

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AhiPoke wrote:
I question posting the man's name after charges have been dropped. As with all cases like this, the accused will have a cloud hanging over his head forever. It also seems to me that, if he is a pervert, he would have taken the camera and the photos with him.
on October 2,2013 | 09:38AM
pcman wrote:
IRT Ahi on perverts. The press has equal freedom as individuals. That is Freedom of the Press versus Personal Privacy. Evidently, the plea bargaining process was that the prosecutor would drop the charges as long as they can keep it on the record. I'm just guessing. Maybe somebody in the press can straighten me out.
on October 2,2013 | 11:42AM
honomukeiki wrote:
Like all prosecutors who make a bad mistake and refuse to admit it this one came up with a lame excuse for their malfeasance. Where does this man now go to get his reputation back?
on October 2,2013 | 11:33AM
Mahalo wrote:
It doesn't mean he didn't take the photos... its just very possible that the photos were not taken in malice. Like ahipoke said if why not keep the photos for himself. Poor Judgement: YES
on October 2,2013 | 12:09PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
A very thoughtful and nuanced comment Mahalo. I suspect you are absolutely correct on this.
on October 2,2013 | 04:31PM
LMO wrote:
This guy has been on paid leave for a year and a half? Where do I sign up?
on October 3,2013 | 02:32AM
Dawg wrote:
I am sorry, but as a teacher he should have been well aware of 'Safe Haven Rules.' There is no innocence in photographing a young nude female, child or adult. The man should be held accountable and MARKED as DANGEROUS. He is a pervert!
on October 3,2013 | 05:24AM
gsr wrote:
"A spokeswoman for the Whitman prosecutors office said the case was closed because it didn't want to put "the victim through a traumatizing event of a trial forcing her to face her accuser." This story is unclear, wasn't the man the accused and the girl the victim?
on October 3,2013 | 07:35AM
joseph007 wrote:
glad prosecutor was so nice to the perpetrator to "save" the 4 year old.
on October 3,2013 | 08:30AM
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