Sexual assault charges filed against former student
February 13, 2007
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Author: Derek Schlickeisen
The Addison County State’s Attorney charged a former Middlebury student on Jan. 29 with one count of felony sexual assault and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct. The charges were made in connection with a March 31, 2006 incident at a Delta House party.
The student was a junior when he withdrew from the College last April pending resolution of the case. He has pleaded “not guilty” on both counts and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Court records allege that the defendant, now 22, sexually assaulted one female student at the party and attempted to assault another.
According to interviews conducted this January by Patrol Officer Vegar Boe of the Middlebury Police Department, both the accused and the victims had been drinking the night of the party. Investigators suspect that a vat of blue punch may have been spiked with drugs used to treat attention-deficit disorder (ADD).
“Whether there was a drug in the punch, we don’t know,” State’s Attorney John Quinn told WCAX-TV of Burlington. “We’ll never know. There was, by the time we found out about it, the punch was long gone.”
Delta House was placed on a one-year suspension by the College following the party as a result of alcohol policy violations and what President of the College Ronald D. Liebowitz called “inappropriate behavior.”
Quinn explained in previous interviews that the investigation had to wait several months for the collection and processing of DNA evidence at the state’s crime lab.
Because those DNA tests proved inconclusive after several delays, the prosecution’s case will now proceed on the basis of witness testimony and circumstantial evidence.
The student has been released from custody while awaiting a March 5 pre-trial conference under the conditions that he refrain from entering the premises of Middlebury College or having any contact with the victims.