BENNINGTON — A man with a history of sex crimes is facing a new one.
Richard Sylvester, 51, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to a felony count of lewd and lascivious conduct. He was released under conditions, among them that he have no contact with the alleged victim or a certain witness, and obey a curfew.
According to police, Sylvester was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct in 1996 and 1997, and of failing to comply with the sex offender registry in 2008. All of these are felonies, which is why he was charged this time as a habitual offender. If convicted of a new felony, the state could argue for him to serve up to life in prison.
He also has a misdemeanor conviction for "prohibited sexual acts" from 1994.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Detective Anthony Silvestro, on March 28 a woman reported to police that Sylvester had grabbed her and kissed her. She spoke with Silvestro the following day said she had dropped a co-worker off at Sylvester's home and was invited inside to look around. While being given the tour, she looked up from her phone and that was when Sylvester grabbed her by the back of the neck and kissed her. She then left.
She said that prior to this, Sylvester had been calling her on her cell phone but she would ignore them.
Police interviewed the woman's co-workers and were told by one that Sylvester had a habit of showing up at the workplace often and being "touchy" with the female workers.
— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115