ATLANTA - A former school resource officer says he has spent the last four years in legal limbo after being accused of recording nude teens in private rooms of his home without their knowledge or consent.
Keith Rucker had worked at Tri-Cities High School as a resource officer and substitute teacher.
This week, a judge signed an order prohibiting the state from prosecuting Rucker on three charges of unlawful eavesdropping.
Lawyer Jackie Patterson said when Rucker was a resource officer, police arrested him on illegal eavesdropping charges.
But the case never went to a grand jury, an essential step for a trial on felony charges. Now there will be no trial.
“What I want the people to understand is that I’m the person who I appear to be. I am that officer that walked the halls of the schools. I am that coach. I am not the monster that they tried to portray me to be,” Rucker told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne.
This week, a Fulton County judge signed a document entitled "order prohibiting the state from prosecuting the above charges.”
“This has been four years of my life, on hold,” Rucker said.
Rucker was charged with three counts of unlawful eavesdropping, accused of using hidden cameras in his home to intentionally videotape three juveniles in the nude during a time he worked with kids as a school resource officer at Tri-Cities High School and as a volunteer with a track club made up of kids from 7 to 18 years old.
This week’s order said the district attorney's office concedes that the statute of limitations has run out.
“They had four years to bring an indictment, an official charging document, that never happened in this case,” Patterson told Winne. “Some people may look at it as a technicality, but there are no technicalities in the law. It’s simply the law. He is presumed innocent and he is innocent. This was an injustice.”
Rucker said the charges pending for the last four years have prevented him from continuing as a private track club volunteer.
“People still look at you side-eyed,” Rucker said.
Rucker said the charges involved security cameras he had set up in the bathroom adjacent to his bedroom, and that he was concerned two young men staying at his house might be sneaking into his private space. He said that because he was a police officer, he had guns in his closet.
“You had no relationship with them?” Winne asked Rucker.
“No,” Rucker said.
“You had no interest, you’re saying, in getting them on video?” Winne asked Rucker.
“No,” Rucker said.
He said if cameras caught three people at different times getting in and out of his shower, he was unaware.
Rucker said that armed with the court order, he plans to seek reinstatement of his police certification and try to get his job back.
“When you’re knocked off your horse, don’t lay down and allow somebody to step on you,” Rucker said.
Winne contacted Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard's office for reaction to the judge’s ruling.
Winne said he did not wish to comment Thursday.
In a previous statement from a 2015 story, Howard said, in part, "This is a complex and time-consuming investigation, which requires the careful and meticulous task of reconstructing electronic surveillance activities."
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