All charges in a case against Massachusetts high school swim coach Elizabeth Backler have been dropped, according to the Boston Globe. Backler had been accused of giving drugs to a former student.
Backler was arrested back in the fall of 2015 on distribution charges. A high school teacher, high school swim coach and YMCA swim coach, the 28-year-old Backler was accused of giving a prescription painkiller pill to a high school swimmer after a meet to treat her shoulder pain. She was also accused of giving the same swimmer a prescription bottle. She was temporarily banned by USA Swimming for 7 years, with her suspension ending in 2022.
The drugs allegedly given to the 16-year-old member of the high school swim team included oxycodone and diazepam. The former is a powerful painkiller, while the latter (also known as Valium) is used to treat anxiety and insomnia, among other things. Backler was accused of giving the pill to the swimmer and telling the swimmer not to tell her mother. As early as January of 2016, Backler’s lawyer was asking for evidence to be thrown out in the case, claiming police obtained a list of Backler’s presciptions without a warrant.
Now this week, Lawrence District Court Judge Michael Uhlarik has thrown out all charges leveled against Backler. Backler’s lawyer told the Boston Globe that the coach was “not guilty” and had been “wrongly charged and wrongly arrested.” He also reiterated that Backler had lost both her teaching and coaching jobs over the arrest, and that she was “exploring all her options,” in terms of future teaching or coaching jobs.
The prosecution too expressed a belief that the criminal charges shouldn’t move forward, though they said it stemmed from a meeting with the alleged victim and her mother. Spokesperson Carrie Kimball Monahan said “it was in the best interest of the victim not to proceed at this time.”