Man skips trial on sex assault charges
BENNINGTON -- A man facing counts of sex assault and lewd and lascivious conduct opted to sit out his two-day trial and remain in a holding cell, according to a state prosecutor.
William O. Stanley Sr., 52, of Bennington, was convicted Wednesday of sexual assault and acquitted of lewd and lascivious conduct. Deputy State’s Attorney Christina Rainville said Stanley did not appear in the courtroom while his attorney argued his case. Vermont law allows defendants to do this.
According to Bennington Police, in October of last year a woman said she was with Stanley in the Aldi parking lot and he had threatened to kill her. Police spoke to her and learned that the night before she was with her boyfriend and Stanley in a hotel room. She had woken up to Stanley sexually assaulting her while her boyfriend remained asleep. She said they all had gone to the Aldi grocery store in a vehicle, and Stanley touched her leg.
Rainville said she intends to argue that Stanley be imprisoned for the rest of his life. Sex assault carries a maximum penalty of life, and Stanley was found to be a habitual offender, having three felony furlough escapes on his record. Rainville said Stanley had been released from prison 12 days before this incident. She did not know how long he had been incarcerated previously.
Stanley’s attorney, T. Lamar Enzor, did not return a call seeking comment.
-- Keith Whitcomb Jr.
Juvenile’s sex case referred to Family Court
BENNINGTON -- A 15-year-old boy charged with a sex crime last year pleaded guilty to a lesser offense Thursday in Vermont Superior Court and was referred to the court’s Family Division.
Ethan Onorato, of Shaftsbury, pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct. A hearing will be held at a later date to see if the Family Division accepts his case. If it does not, he will be able to withdraw the guilty plea.
Judge Nancy Corsones said the facts Onorato and the state were agreeing to were that on Oct. 15, 2012, Onorato and a 14-year-old girl began a consensual sexual encounter. Part way through, the girl told Onorato to stop but he did not.
The state initially charged Onorato with felony sexual assault. His attorney, David Silver, told the court there were significant issues with the case. However, taking it to trial presents a risk to his client. Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Christina Rainville told the court the complaining witness supported the resolution.
-- Keith Whitcomb Jr.
Police seek suspect in college sex assault
COLCHESTER (AP) -- Police say they are looking for a man who they believe was involved in sexual assault at St. Michael’s College in the Vermont town of Colchester.
Police say the assault took place around midnight on Sept. 14 near Cashman Hall.
Investigators have identified a suspect through surveillance camera images. Police say he is about 25 years old, with blond hair and no facial hair.
The Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations, which investigates sex crimes, held a news conference Friday afternoon.
The Burlington Free Press reports that the college’s public safety office sent out a campus email this week urging students to lock their doors to keep strangers from entering dormitories and to report suspicious activity.
Social activists call for paid worker sick time
MIDDLESEX (AP) -- Some Vermont social activists want the Legislature to pass a law to require employers to provide paid sick time for their employees.
Former Gov. Madeleine Kunin joined dozens of activists Thursday at a Middlesex bakery that provides paid sick time to its employees and said paid sick time is good for families and businesses.
"Because you get loyalty. You get productivity. You get more in return than you give back," Kunin said. "That’s why I don’t think it should be simply called a benefit. I think it should be called the right way to do business. So I would I would say to politicians: this is a popular issue. This is not dangerous to go out on a limb for paid sick days."
Kunin said such a program would create employee loyalty and boost productivity.
Vermont Public Radio reported Kunin spoke at the rally at the Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex.
Red Hen owner Randy George said he offered sick days to his employees three years ago. It reduced turnover and made for a healthier workforce.
"I’ve come to realize that we would have been better off if we had started this benefit a long time ago," George said.
It’s unclear what the prospects are for passage. The proposal is likely to be opposed by business groups.
Police say 2 more arrests in drug op
ST. ALBANS (AP) -- Vermont State Police investigators say there have been two more arrests stemming from the Franklin County drug raids launched earlier this week.
One of the suspects turned himself in on Thursday. The other was arrested by state police.
Police say there are still three outstanding state targets from Operation Northern Lights.
The operation began in St. Albans on Tuesday, targeting 50 defendants for the distribution and sale of illicit drugs, along with several other criminal offenses.
The Franklin County operation was the third held by Vermont police this year. Previous operations were held in Bennington and Springfield.