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BENNINGTON — Next week’s jury trial in a Bennington County criminal case has been postponed to October after a suspected COVID-19 infection at the criminal courthouse led attorneys to suspend the jury draw Tuesday.

Robert Billington, 37, of Bennington, was scheduled to go on trial next Tuesday and Wednesday. He is charged with felony counts of sexual assault (no consent) and lewd and lascivious conduct against a local woman in 2018.

His jury draw was halted around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday when case attorneys were informed of a person inside the courthouse who was potentially infected with the novel coronavirus, said Wendy Dickie, Bennington County’s court operations manager for the criminal division.

The jury draw had started that morning, but the lawyers reportedly wanted to exercise an abundance of caution with dozens of potential jurors present.

Billington’s trial is now scheduled for Oct. 12 and 13, after a jury draw with a new group of potential jurors on Oct. 5. His trial was supposed to be the second jury trial in the county after a 1-1/2 year freeze because of the pandemic.

State court officials said this was the first time they learned of a jury draw and trial being postponed since jury trials were restarted in May.  

Contact Tiffany Tan at or @tiffgtan on Facebook and Twitter.


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