Prosecutors lacked evidence to prove crimes against researcher - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Prosecutors lacked evidence to prove crimes against UW researcher


MADISON (WKOW) -- Court documents state prosecutors lacked enough, unspecified evidence to prove a sex assault charge, and a felony false imprisonment charge, against a UW-Madison researcher.

Charges against 32-year old Saeed Aghdam were dismissed by prosecutors Monday, just days before Aghdam's scheduled trial.

Court records show minutes of the Monday recording of the Dane County District Attorney's decision list the rationale for the dismissal of the charges as "...State unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt."

Case prosecutor assistant Dane County district attorney Mary Ellen Karst told 27 News to rely on the court minutes, when contacted for more specific information on the dismissal of charges.

Earlier this year, authorities said Aghdam sexually touched a teenage, Japanese exchange student as he showed her his work space adjacent to UW Hospital at the UW Clinical Science Center. Authorities also said Aghdam prevented the teen from escaping.

But Aghdam's attorney, Mark Frank told 27 News surveillance camera video, and key-pad data, support Aghdam's claims of innocence. Frank told 27 News Aghdam left the Center for a time during the period when authorities said the teenager was unable to leave.

UW-Madison officials placed Aghdam on paid leave when the charges were lodged against him. But UW-Madison spokesperson John Lucas said Aghdam was allowed to return to his position in October, more than two months before his scheduled trial.

Lucas said there was "...insufficient evidence to support a different course of action." Lucas said Aghdam's return involved limits, including hosting no visitors, and not being allowed to be alone with women at the work place.

Authorities said the student was living with a host family at the time of her encounter with Aghdam. 27 News has been unable to reach the student, or the head of the host family for comment on the dismissal. 

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