Felony charge dropped in Dietrich student rape case

A felony charge has been dropped against one Dietrich High School football player accused of sexually assaulting a teammate.

Tanner Ward still faces a charge in juvenile court, the Twin Falls Times-News reported Thursday. Details about the charge are unknown, since juvenile court files are sealed.

Prosecutors asked District Judge John Butler to drop the adult felony charge, as the result of plea negotiations, the Times-News reported.

Ward had faced a felony charge of forcible penetration by a foreign object. Ward and two classmates are accused of using a coat hanger to assault a teammate. The three suspects are white; the alleged victim is black.

After the criminal charges surfaced in May, the case drew extensive national media attention.

Meanwhile, the district and its administration face a $10 million civil suit; the lawsuit says district officials knew, or should have known, about an escalating pattern of abuse. The district has denied most allegations in the civil complaint.

A trial date has not been set in the civil case, The Times-News reported Thursday.