Vermont State Senator Norm McAllister was arrested on Thursday and charged with multiple felony counts of felony sexual assault and three related misdemeanors connected with a "sex-for-rent" scheme.
McAllister has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Prosecutors allege Sen. Norman H. McAllister, R-Franklin, over a period of several years sexually assaulted two women who were his tenants and employees, and that he attempted to solicit a third woman. That woman called police this week, launching a fast-moving investigation that by Friday was reverberating throughout the state capital of Montpelier.
The investigation moved swiftly, beginning Monday and ending on Thursday with his arrest.
According to court papers, the investigation into McAllister's conduct began Monday, and over the following days, police had two of the women place recorded phone calls to the senator. In the conversations, which are quoted in a sworn police affidavit prepared by Detective Sgt. Benjamin Katz of the Vermont State Police, McAllister made allusions to exchanging sex for rent payments he is due.
He also apologizes to one of the women for sex acts that caused her physical and emotional pain — including one incident that was described in court papers as occurring to punish her for injuring one of McAllister's farm workers with a tractor — and for forcing her to participate in unwelcome sexual conduct, Katz wrote.
"I knew I was forcing you to do something you didn't want to do," McAllister told the woman, according to the affidavit.
His colleagues are shocked. Well, his male colleagues are, anyway. At least one former female colleague was far less shocked.
Former Burlington Rep. Rachel Weston, who now lives in Istanbul, posted a Facebook message in the wake of the arrest recalling an alleged run-in with McAllister on her first day in the Legislature.
Reached by phone overseas, Weston said that upon introducing herself to McAllister in 2007, he said “it’s nice to meet you, but it would have been better to meet you with your clothes off.”
McAllister was 55 at the time; Weston 25.
“I was shocked and horrified and disgusted and let it be known then and there,” Weston said Friday. “A woman can recount sometimes in her life or her career where some sort of perverted or predatory comment from a man comes her way. And in my circumstance, this is what was said to me on my first day in the Legislature by Norm McAllister … It was highly inappropriate and predatory, and if that comment shows a history or predatory behavior, so be it.” the arrest recalling an alleged run-in with McAllister on her first day in the Legislature.
He's innocent until proven guilty, but it sure looks like they've got the goods on him.