With a jury selected and a trial due to begin any day, the Centre County District Attorney's office abruptly dropped a rape charge against former Penn State tailback Austin Scott.
District attorney Michael Madeira released the following statement to the Centre Daily Times, Daily Collegian and other media outlets Friday.
"It is with deep regret that we nolle pros, i.e., withdraw the charges against Austin Scott," Madeira said.
"The facts of the case have not changed from the time he was arrested. However, the trial judge has ruled evidence of the victim's past is relevant to this case though it has always been our position that the evidence of the victim's past is irrelevant. While we disagree with the trial judge's decision, we appreciate that he made the decision quickly. We attempted to have the trial judge's ruling reviewed by the Superior Court but the Superior Court decided that they will not review this matter. This ruling leaves the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with no remedy.
"In light of the likely admission of evidence we believe is irrelevant, as officers of the court, it is our position that there is no reasonable likelihood the Commonwealth can meet its burden of proof. We must therefore withdraw these charges."
The alleged crime happened early last October. A few days later -- before the rape charge was filed -- Scott was dismissed from the PSU football team. The charge came later in the month.
The trial was due to begin Wednesday but was delayed when the DA's office attempted to appeal a ruling that would have allowed the accuser to be asked about a previous rape she had alleged in which the accused was acquitted. The appeal was never reviewed.
Scott performed well at Penn State's on-campus Pro Day last month and is eligible for the 2008 NFL Draft.