Charges dismissed against teen in "Butt Drag" case

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif.

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The case garnered national attention as it dragged out over the course of several months, but when it came time for a trial Thursday, it all ended in a matter of minutes.

Preston Hill walked out of the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Center free of the weight of a sexual battery charge, without even an apology.

"He never had to make an admission and he never would have," said Hill's attorney Stephen Quade. "If this had involved him admitting to some wrongdoing, we would've been in a trial."

Prosecutors charged the 17-year-old with a misdemeanor after a younger and smaller wrestling teammate accused him of bullying.

The freshman said Hill intentionally went too far with a move called the "butt drag" that you can see in YouTube video.

Buchanan High School suspended Hill in August and the Clovis Unified School Board voted to expel him last week.

The alleged victim's family backed the decision to drop the criminal charges because they say the expulsion was their ultimate goal.

"Just putting him back in that environment would do an injustice to my son and I think it would do an injustice to the whole anti-bullying movement," said the boy's father, Ross Rice. "It would make a statement that this is accepted."

Hill and the alleged victim spent a few hours together last week learning conflict resolution techniques through the SHARE program.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies brought the same program to Fresno High School the next day.

Nobody's commenting on whether the boys spoke to each other during the program, but there were only five people in the room with the deputies. And when they came out of court Thursday, both sides said they've buried the hatchet.

"I wish them the best," said Rice. "I do hope their son has gained some perspective from this and has learned a lesson, as my son has."

The Hills left without talking to the media Thursday, but Preston's mother spoke briefly with Action News. She said they need time to decompress before commenting.

Quade says the teen still plans to be involved in wrestling, but he wouldn't predict whether Hill will use the "butt drag" move in the future.

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