NANTICOKE, Pa. – A judge has acquitted a Pennsylvania state trooper accused of groping a 9-year-old girl, citing the girl’s testimony that the trooper appeared to be asleep at the time.

The Luzerne County judge brought an early end to the trial of Trooper Patrick Finn on Wednesday, ruling that prosecutors had not shown “one scintilla of evidence” that Finn was awake during the alleged assault.

Prosecutors said they were disappointed that the jury did not decide the case, but said they would respect the judge’s ruling, which cannot be appealed. The girl’s mother said she was “heartbroken.”

Finn’s attorney called the judge’s ruling a “courageous decision.”

Finn opted for trial after backing out of a deal to plead guilty to reduced charges. He still faces an internal state police investigation.

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