KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A Hawks Place man was convicted Wednesday by a jury of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl and supplying her with marijuana and alcohol.
Jay Allard, 55, was on trial for three felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, sexual assault, and misdemeanor counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The trial started Tuesday. Allard remains in custody and a psycho-sexual evaluation has been ordered by the court pending a later sentencing hearing.
According to Deputy State's Attorney Christina Rainville, Allard has pending charges regarding accusations of sexual contact with a second child. She said those charges were severed from this case and Allard will face them separately.
In the summer of 2011, Bennington Police said they spoke to a then-15-year-old girl who said Allard had touched her sexually on more than one occasion when she was over at his house. She said she went there because Allard supplied her with marijuana and alcohol.
Police said they first heard this in April through the girl's counselor but the girl did not wish to speak to police until nearly two weeks later. She told police that Allard touched her sexually on at least three occasions while she was using an exercise ball he had show her how to use and accused him of further sexual contact when she was intoxicated.
In her closing arguments Rainville said the girl's testimony was highly credible. Rainville said her story was consistent and she had no motive to lie. Allard, on the other hand, has told different accounts of what happened and has been evasive.
Rainville noted differences between what Allard said about having alcohol in his house on the witness stand compared to what he told police in the 2011 interview. He testified that he did not keep alcohol in his house but told police in the interview, part of which was played for the jury, that at one point he did. Allard said under cross examination by his attorney, Lamar Enzor, that he had not reviewed the two-year-old interview before testifying.
Rainville said many parts of the girl's story have been corroborated. She said a friend of the girl's witnessed Allard touching her on one occasion, and Allard testified to providing marijuana to her.
Enzor, in his closing arguments, said that according to testimony from others it was clear young people frequented Allard's house to socialize with each other, but evidence suggested the girl in question was not there as often as the state portrayed. He said the girl did have a reason to not tell the truth, and suggested it was because her mother learned she was smoking marijuana there. He said it was possible the sex allegations were to shift focus away from her activities.
According to Enzor, his client freely admitted to supplying marijuana to the girl. He said he would take responsibility for crimes he committed but has not committed the more serious crimes.
Rainville, in her rebuttal, said there was no evidence about the mother's feelings and that Allard's activities were not disclosed that way but rather stemmed from what the girl told her counselor. She said the girl also told a friend partially what had been happening after the friend witnessed Allard touch the girl. Rainville said the marijuana was given by Allard to prevent the girl from disclosing the sexual matters.
Allard has been held without bail since February 2011. The trial was scheduled to be in May of last year but Allard requested a new attorney and Enzor was assigned to his case.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.