J. Lyle Bootman

J. Lyle Bootman

Criminal charges have been dropped against a former University of Arizona dean accused of raping and beating an unconscious woman at his Foothills home two years ago.

Jesse Lyle Bootman, who has vigorously defended his innocence since charges were brought, will not face trial after an out-of-town prosecutor cast doubt on the likelihood of obtaining a conviction.

The Pima County Attorney’s Office turned the case over to a Maricopa County prosecutor a few months ago after Bootman’s lawyers claimed local law enforcement authorities and prosecutors were biased in favor of Bootman’s accuser.

In an email statement Wednesday, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said new information came to light that called into question “the intial assessment that we could prove the charges filed beyond a reasonable doubt.”

He said the new information sprang from a related civil lawsuit that was launched by Bootman’s accuser.

The civil case raised questions about the depth of the previous relationship between Bootman and his accuser prior to the alleged sexual assault.

"Dr. Bootman has maintained his innocence since the beginning," his attorney Joshua F. Hamilton said in a written statement. "He is incredibly thankful to finally put this matter to rest and to move on from this terribly painful chapter in his life. He looks forward to continuing with his personal and professional endeavors now that this is over."

In the criminal case, Bootman had pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault, sexual abuse, aggravated assault, kidnapping and drugging the woman with a prescription sleep aid.

Sheriff's officials said she sustained a broken nose and other injuries in what authorities described as a “brutal” attack.

Bootman was dean of the UA pharmacy school at the time and remains on the university payroll as a professor.