MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - A Madison County judge has officially dropped the charges against a UAH Professor. Madison Police arrested Massimiliano (Max) Bonamente more than two weeks ago on two counts of sexual abuse of a minor under 12 years old.
Last week, prosecutors with the Madison County District Attorney's office filed a motion to dismiss the two counts against the physics professor. The motion stated the alleged victims had recanted their testimony and provided other evidence that indicated Bonamente should not be prosecuted.
Court documents show Madison County District Judge Claude Hundley granted the motion to drop the charges this morning.
Within the first few minutes, Bonamente's attorney, Bruce Gardner, says he knew his client was innocent.
“People were flabbergasted that a person like Mr. Bonamente could would do anything like what he was charged with," says Gardner.
Now that charges are dropped, Mr. Bonamente may now resume teaching here at the campus of UAH, but faces a much greater problem, he must now work to erase the stain that is associated with his name. Gardner says that's easier said than done.
"It carries an immediate stigmatization if you will that the guy is a pervert, he’s a sick human being, he’s this he’s that, he all these horrible things that he’s not," says Gardner.
He says it's something that may haunt his client for the rest of his life.
“Once you're charged with this and the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s awful hard to squeeze it back in," says Gardner.
If there's a silver lining to the dark clouds that have haunted Max Bonamente for the last two weeks, Gardner hopes everyone will learn a valuable lesson from all this.
“When people read or see that somebody has been charged with the most despicable thing there is, they may just might be innocent," he says.
While Profressor Bonamente has been given access back to campus, and his teaching duties reinstated, his attorney tells us it's unclear if his status as a tenured professor has also been restored.
Gardner hopes UAH will do so in the coming days.