Franklin County Sen. Norm McAllister didn’t say a word at his arraignment Friday morning as his lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on all charges against him.
McAllister is charged with three counts of felony sexual assault and three counts of prohibited acts. If convicted of the sexual assault charges, he could face life in prison.
Franklin County State’s Attorney Jim Hughes said McAllister’s alleged crimes date back to December 2012 – the month after McAllister was first elected to the Senate – when a woman moved into a trailer on McAllister’s property and he coerced her into having sex with him in exchange for the housing. She was also working on McAllister’s farm at the time, the documents say.
Court documents allege that the arrangement went on for years, and included multiple incidents in which the victim cried out in pain and asked McAllister to stop. The victim allegedly told police that McAllister asked her for sex an “average of once or twice a month.” But there were some gaps of months when he did not – those gaps, she allegedly told police – coincided with her pregnancy.
“From the beginning of her employment [on the farm],” the documents say, “McAllister would ask her for sexual favors in exchange for her continuing to live and work at the property.”
The documents also say McAllister allegedly tried to get the victim to agree to let him bring her to another farm, where she would have sex with farm workers there for pay. Under the arrangement, the documents say, McAllister offered to split proceeds from the sex work, with McAllister’s half being counted as a rent payment.
On one occasion, the document allege, McAllister told the victim that his “associate” was coming to her trailer for sex, and was paying McAllister for it. When she told him she never wanted to do that again, McAllister allegedly said he was disappointed because he thought the arrangement could be a “good steady means of income for both of us.”
There were three victims mentioned in court documents, none of them identified by name. A third victim was interviewed by state police on Thursday, the McAllister’s was arrest outside the Statehouse. Her statements to police describe McAllister as sexually violent with her on more than 20 occasions.
“I was screaming no at him and he still, yes, he still went for it,” the victim allegedly told police.
McAllister also allegedly used his connections as a state senator “to assist [the victim] with her child custody issues.” A court affidavit says that during the period the victim was having sex with McAllister in exchange for housing, “he referred her to an attorney, who he identified to be an attorney to the Vermont Senate.” The victim allegedly told police that “the attorney stopped communicating with her and assisting her once [the victim] stopped performing sex acts for McAllister.”
In a brief statement after the arraignment, McAllister’s lawyer, former prosecutor Brooks McArthur, said McAllister has a different version of events. McArthur didn't specifically address the allegations.