KEITH WHITCOMB JR., Staff Writer
BENNINGTON -- A Valentine Street man convicted of having lewd contact with an adult neighbor in 2012 is accused of violating his probation by revealing confidential information about other sex offenders in his treatment group.
Michael Morse, 67, was placed on probation in May 2013 for a lewd and lascivious conduct conviction, which he received for exposing himself to a neighbor and touching her.
He denied violating his probation Wednesday in Vermont Superior Court and was released under his existing conditions, plus a 24-hour curfew at his home with exceptions for court, attorney, medical, and probation related appointments.
According to an affidavit by Michael Doheny, of the Department of Corrections, on Feb. 11 at 2:45 p.m. he learned that two offenders who participate in the Bennington Community Based Sex Offender Treatment program had been approached where they work by Morse’s son-in-law, who said that Morse had told him things about the two he that had learned in the treatment program.
Morse told investigators with the Department of Corrections that he had divulged information about the two men to his son-in-law, and had also told him about a third person he knows from sex offender treatment who had been suspended for smoking marijuana. Morse told the DOC he routinely talks to his wife about others in the program.
Doheny said the Sex Offender Treatment team then met to discuss Morse, and decided to suspend him from the group. It is against the group’s rules to discuss its members with outsiders, and by doing so Morse had disrupted the others’ treatment.
Deputy State’s Attorney Christina Rainville argued for Morse to be held without bail. She said he was found to have violated his probation once before on June 18 by going to the North Bennington Graded School and having contact with a child there without permission from the court.
Rainville said Morse faces a two- to four-year sentence, which is an incentive not to show up in court given his age.
Morse’s attorney, Frederick Bragdon, said the new alleged behavior is not of a violent nature and that his client can be released.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.