FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - A Fairfax County judge threw out a child sex assault case after criticizing the prosecutor and saying he’s never seen a case handled like this one before.
The defendant, Craig Allen Super, is accused of sexually assaulting multiple girls. He was arrested last year.
Fairfax County police said detectives identified seven victims ranging in age from 11 to 18 who said they were sexually assaulted at his home in the Alexandria section of the county between 2004 and 2019.
One case against Super was set for trial Tuesday.
FOX 5 spoke to the 15-year-old alleged victim in the case who requested only to be identified as "Kay."
Kay’s mother, who also requested anonymity as to not identify her daughter, said they found out Monday that the prosecutor wanted to request a nolle prosequi, which means the case would be dismissed, but charges could be refiled.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Pia Miller told the judge the issue was that it was unclear how old Kay was when the alleged assaults occurred. The charges filed hinged on her being younger than 13.
According to a court transcript, Judge Thomas Mann said it was "difficult to understand why it took the Commonwealth over a year-and-a-half to realize that they couldn’t go forward today."
Mann spoke about the stress on Kay and her family as well as the defendant who was facing up to 40 years behind bars.
"I have never seen that before in a pleading in 32 years of doing this kind of work," Mann said, per the transcript. "Again, the court asks what has happened here."
Mann denied the nolle prosequi. Miller then made a motion to dismiss.
Mann dismissed the charges with prejudice, which means the case is permanently dismissed.
"I feel like I didn’t get a chance to tell my actual story and what happened to me," Kay said.
She described her experience with the Commonwealth’s Attorney‘s Office as "probably a little bit of a mess."
"Like they don’t know what they’re doing and they should," Kay said.
Mann noted that "no less than six prosecutors" had been involved in Kay’s case, and no one saw a problem until the last minute.
FOX 5 has told you about high turnover in Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano’s office and how a former prosecutor named Nathan Freier resigned after telling the office he was overwhelmed and untrained to handle sex crimes cases.
Freier was the prosecutor on Kay’s case before he left. Kay’s mother said they preferred Freier to Miller and even wrote a letter asking for a different prosecutor. She said seeing the case get dismissed hurt.
"I can’t even describe it, but it was very heartbreaking because I feel my daughter didn’t get justice," she said.
Last month, Miller was granted a nolle prosequi for a separate alleged victim accusing Super of sex assault. Super is now facing two additional sex assault trials.
A spokesperson for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said in an emailed statement:
"We are limited in what we can say regarding this specific case because there are other related charges pending against this defendant, which are a priority for our office. We are, however, disappointed that the judge sensationalized what is a routine courtroom occurrence across the Commonwealth in a manner that did a disservice to this victim. As a general matter, it is our responsibility as prosecutors to determine if a case meets the legal and ethical standard proceed to trial. We do that to the best of our ability based on the investigations conducted by law enforcement."
Kay said she decided to speak out in support of all victims of sexual assault.
"I’m hoping that me speaking on this issue will help the later victims with telling their story and not being ashamed," she said. "Just because I feel like my voice wasn’t heard, it doesn’t mean that your voice can't be heard."
In an emailed statement, Super’s attorney James K. Freeman said:
"Mr. Super has maintained his innocence since he first became aware of these devastating charges. He has no prior criminal record. We have been prepared to try the cases to a jury on two separate trial dates. In both matters, all charges against Mr. Super were dropped at the prosecutor’s request. Mr. Super will plead not guilty to the remaining charges, and we will again be fully prepared to prove his innocence at trial. We are confident that he will be acquitted by a jury. We try our cases in a courtroom and not in the media."