KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A local man was charged Monday with allegedly having sexual contact with a girl he resided with who was under 13 years of age at the time.
Michael Thomas, 50, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual assault on a person under 13, and lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. He was ordered held without bail until a hearing can be held on Thursday to determine what, if any, conditions he can be released on that would ensure future court appearances. The assault charge carries a penalty of 10 years to life if Thomas is convicted.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Detective Anthony Silvestro, on Sept. 19 he learned from the Department of Children and Families that it had received a report of a 13-year-old girl having passed her friend a note while in school saying that Thomas had performed a sexual act on her when she was between 8 and 9 years old, had touched her, had made her touch his genitals.
The girl’s note indicated the assault happened while she was taking a shower. She said Thomas had entered the bathroom to check her for ticks and touched her private areas. She also told police Thomas would make her undress him, as he suffers from back problems. Thomas made her promise not to tell anyone about the incident because he would get in trouble.
Silvestro wrote that the girl had trouble speaking during the interview and told him that she did not feel safe around Thomas when she was alone with him.
Police spoke to Thomas, and he admitted having the girl touch him in 2012, but he denied touching her or performing a sex act on her previously.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.