A Rock Island County jury rejected prosecutors' claims that a retired Moline teacher raped a 13-year-old girl in 2010.
The jury deliberated nearly 90 minutes Thursday before finding Henry D. Pawlus, 66, of Coal Valley, not guilty of two counts of criminal sexual assault after a four-day trial.
Pawlus declined comment Friday through his attorney, Katherine Drummond of the Rock Island law firm of Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham.
Drummond said the trial took "quite a toll" on Pawlus, who she said has a long history of substantial health problems that affect his everyday life.
“I think the jury did their job, and I think that they held the state to its burden of proof,” Drummond said.
Rock Island County Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Gardner was out of the office Friday and could not be reached for comment.
Pawlus was arrested in December following a four-month investigation by the Moline police.
Prosecutors told jurors at trial that Pawlus raped the girl at Wilson Middle School, where he worked as an industrial education instructor, in January 2010.
The defense argued that Pawlus' health problems predated 2010 and that it would be unlikely that he could have the ability to assault the girl.
Pawlus taught in the Moline-Coal Valley School District for 15 years before retiring in May 2010.