Man sentenced for lewd act

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BENNINGTON — A local man will serve two years of probation after he admitted to engaging in a lewd act in Woodford last spring.

The man was given a two-year deferred sentence Friday for driving while masturbating, and for masturbating in view of the public.

Paul J. Lambert, 54, pleaded guilty in Vermont Superior Court Bennington Criminal Division to felony lewd and lascivious conduct and misdemeanor negligent vehicle operation.

Asked by Judge William D. Cohen if he wanted to make a statement, Lambert told the judge he was on medication to treat chronic Lyme disease at the time and "not in my right mind."

The deferred sentence means that if Lambert avoids any legal troubles during that time, the charge will be dismissed and his record will be expunged.

Defense attorney Christopher Montgomery noted his client's lack of any prior record and said Lambert "was going through an emotional time" in his life when he committed the acts he was pleading guilty to.

"He is ashamed and sorry," Montgomery said, and accepts responsibility. His client also is open to further counseling, the attorney said.

A motorist called 911 early on May 27, 2016, to report a nude male standing off of Route 9 in Woodford, masturbating, and then again shortly after to say the man passed them in a vehicle, still masturbating, according to Vermont State Police.

Bennington police pulled over a vehicle matching the description and identified the driver as Lambert. According to the affidavit, Lambert's car had driven past a trooper's cruiser in Woodford that was equipped with a license plate reader.

Under a plea agreement, misdemeanor counts of providing false information to an officer and negligent vehicle operation were dismissed by the state.

Reporter Jim Therrien contributed reporting for this story.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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