Pownal man held without bail in child sexual assault case

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BENNINGTON — A Pownal man accused of sexually assaulting a child at Greenberg Headwaters Park in August will be held in custody without the opportunity to post bail, at least until a weight of evidence hearing is held later this month, according to court records.

James Mason, 38, is accused of sexual assault on a child under 16 and two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, court records show. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Aug. 29.

The incident occurred at night on Aug. 14, according to an affidavit written by Vermont State Police Trooper Lauren Ronan. At a parking area at Greenberg Headwaters Park, Mason allegedly put the 14-year-old victim's hand on his exposed genitals.

Following an investigation, Mason was arrested about two weeks later, following a video-recorded interview with detectives at the Vermont State Police's Shaftsbury Barracks.

Mason was a player for the Southern Vermont Storm, a semi-professional football team. He was released on Aug. 29, the day the team learned of the charges, general manger Chris Cipperley said in an email.

Mason also volunteered with the Mount Anthony Union Middle School wrestling program, according to Katie West, public information coordinator for the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union.

Mason "will be ordered to stay away from all school property and his services as a volunteer will be suspended," SVSU Superintendent James Culkeen said in a statement.

A weight of evidence hearing in the case is currently scheduled for Sept. 18 at 9 a.m.

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan@benningtonbanner.com.

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