Thurston County Judge Christine Schaller on Monday dismissed 14 child pornography charges against Troy Fisher, the former artistic director of Capital Playhouse Theater in Olympia.
Judge Schaller ruled the evidence found in his case was obtained without a search warrant and dismissed the charges.
In July of 2012, Fisher was teaching kids how to sing at the Olympia theater when his relatives reported him as missing. Olympia police searched his home, cell phone and computers in an effort to locate him.
When Fisher turned up safe two days later, an Olympia detective continued to search his computer and allegedly found more than 150 child pornography images that resulted the criminal charges.
Fisher's attorney argued the case should be thrown out because investigators had no search warrant when they found the images. Prosecutors did not argue and the judge ruled the search was unconstitutional and dismissed the charges.
I am an innocent man, he said. Fisher explained he never knowingly downloaded any illegal images. Never at any time has any child been in danger around me. There's no evidence of that.
Fisher has since resumed teaching.
I will know no joy in my life unless I am teaching, he said.
We never doubted him, said Bobbe Murray, one of many friends of Fisher's who showed up in court Monday morning. The courtroom was full of parents and former students, all in support of Fisher, who exchanged hugs after the ruling.
For years he's been an intricate part of our community and we love him, said Murray.
The president of the theater's board of directors said they hired a replacement for Fisher when he resigned in November. Ginger Eagle said while the theater does not have any current openings, Fisher could apply for future openings if he so chooses.
While the case and hearing was in Thurston County, a Pierce County prosecutor handled the case.
Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim's wife is on the Capital Playhouse's board of directors. Pierce County deputy prosecutor Scott Peters did not challenge the motion that the search was illegal.