BENNINGTON — A Bennington College student pleaded not guilty Thursday to sexual assault and other charges that reportedly stemmed from an incident in a dorm room last month.
John D’Angelo, 21, of Medfield, Mass., is charged with the felony offenses of sexual assault with the use of drug to impair as well as lewd and lascivious conduct. He is also facing a misdemeanor charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor.
Authorities accuse D’Angelo of sexually assaulting a teenager after giving him beer laced with drugs while they were at D’Angelo’s dorm room in the early hours of Oct. 15.
The teenager told police he didn’t remember much of what happened after drinking the beer, but remembered feeling light-headed, dizzy and shaky, according to a sworn statement by Vermont State Police Detective Trooper Lauren Ronan.
The case victim isn’t a student at Bennington College, the detective said.
D’Angelo turned himself in on Thursday at the VSP’s request, Ronan said in a news release.
He was formally charged in Bennington Superior criminal court later that day. He is represented by attorney David Silver, according to court records.
The most serious charge, sexual assault, carries a potential penalty of three years to life in prison.
The case is being prosecuted by Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver, who said Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage asked if her office “could take over the case.”
Marthage said in an email that her office recused itself from the case because of a conflict of interest involving the case victim.
D’Angelo is free from jail on $50,000 bail.
Superior Judge Cortland Corsones also issued conditions of release that include D’Angelo’s being on house arrest, not using the internet and not coming to Bennington County unless he has a scheduled court appearance.
Bennington College, Ronan said, “took immediate action in the matter and suspended him from residing on campus.”
In response to a request for comment from the Banner, Bennington College spokeswoman Alex Dery Snider said Friday that the college is “cooperating fully with state and local authorities.”
D’Angelo is “no longer on campus, due to violations of our COVID health and safety policies,” she said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 8. The Windham state’s attorney said D’Angelo’s court hearings are so far expected to take place in Bennington.
State police said they’re continuing to investigate the case, and anyone with information can contact Ronan at 802-442-5421. Anonymous tips may be submitted online at vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.