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Vermont Court Records

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Vermont Sex Offenses and Why They are Different

People who are convicted of sex offenses in Vermont have harsher penalties imposed on them by the courts than for other crimes. Among these penalties are lengthy prison sentences, substantial fines, community service, probation, and other forms of supervised release. In addition, an individual may be required to register publicly as a sex offender, defined by 13 V. S. A. § 5401 (10), for some years or a lifetime. Because of the unseemly and grave nature of a sex crime and the threat it poses to public safety, an offender also has to contend with the loss or limitation of certain rights and privileges, including privacy, custody, and immigration, particularly when the crime involves a minor or child as the victim.

What is a Vermont Sex Crime?

Vermont sex crime laws are codified under Title 13, Crimes and Criminal Procedure of the Vermont Statutes. There is no precise definition of the term “sex crime” under these laws. By general definition, a sex crime is any felony or misdemeanor, as defined by 13 V. S. A. § 1, committed against another individual that involves a sexual act.

13 V. S.A § 3251 (1) defines a “sexual act” as conduct between people that involves any contact between the mouth and penis, mouth and vulva, penis and anus, or any intrusion, no matter how little, by any part of an individual’s body or object into the genitals or anus of another person.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?

Listed below are the different types of sex offenses in Vermont as defined by 13 V. S.A §§ 3251 - 3281:

  • Sexual assault: The crime of sexual assault is defined as follows:
  • Engaging in a sexual act with another person, and causing the person to take part in a sexual act in the following manner:
      • Without the person’s consent
      • By use of threat or coercion
      • By making the other person fearful of an imminent bodily injury
  • Engaging in a sexual act with another person by administering drugs or intoxicants, without a person’s knowledge or consent, to impair the person’s ability to assess or control conduct
  • Engaging in a sexual act with a child below 16 years of age unless both parties are married and the act is consensual, or a consensual act between an individual who is under 19 years old and a child is at least 15 years old
  • Engaging in a sexual act with a child who is less than 18 years of age and legally under the perpetrator’s care, or is the perpetrator’s child, adopted child, foster child, stepchild, or grandchild
  • Engaging in a sexual act with a child who is below the age of 16 if:
      • The child is legally under the care of the perpetrator or is the perpetrator’s child, adopted child, foster child, stepchild, or grandchild
      • The perpetrator, being at least 18 years old, lives in the child’s home and has a parental role over the child

Anyone who is found guilty of (1), (2), (4), (5) is subject to a minimum sentence not less than 3 years, a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and sentencing under 13 V. S. A. § 3271. Also, the court may impose a fine not above $25,000. Individual who commit the offense outlined in (3) are sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 20 years, and a fine not above $10,000

  • Aggravated sexual assault: A person is guilty of this crime if:
    • There is a serious bodily injury caused to the victim or another person
    • The person employs an accomplice or accomplices to physically restrain, assault, or sexually assault the victim
    • The sexual act was committed under conditions of kidnapping
    • The person has a prior conviction of sexual assault in the state or any other U.S. jurisdiction for a similar offense
    • The person uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon on the victim or another person
    • The person threatens to cause severe bodily injury to the victim or another person, or places the victim in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury
    • The person uses deadly force on the victim
    • The victim is less than 13 years of age and the perpetrator is at least 18 years old
    • The person repeatedly subjects the victim to nonconsensual sexual acts

This crime is punishable with a minimum prison sentence not less than 10 years, and a maximum sentence of life. The guilty party may also be fined an amount, not above $50,000. According to the law, the minimum sentence cannot be suspended, deferred, or served as a supervised sentence, nor can the guilty party be eligible for any type of early release until the expiry of the minimum sentence, unless otherwise provided by 13 V. S. A. § 3253(2). Sentencing also occurs under 13 V. S. A. § 3271.

  • Aggravated sexual assault of a child: A person, being at least 18 years old, commits this crime against a child below the age of 16 if:
    • The person causes severe bodily injury to the victim or another person
    • The person uses or is joined by an accomplice or accomplices to physically restrain, assault, or sexually assault the victim
    • The sexual act was committed under the circumstances of kidnapping
    • The person has a former conviction of sexual assault in the state or any other U.S. jurisdiction for a similar offense
    • The person uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon on the victim or another person
    • The person threatens to cause imminent serious bodily injury to the victim or another person, or places the victim in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury
    • The person uses deadly force on the victim
    • The person repeatedly subjects the victim to nonconsensual sexual acts

The punishment for this crime is a minimum prison sentence not less than 25 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The defendant may also be subject to a fine not above $50,000. The minimum sentence cannot be suspended, deferred, or served as a supervised sentence, nor is the person eligible for any form of early release until the minimum sentence is served completely

  • Sexual exploitation of an inmate: A person commits this offense when being an employee or contractor of a correctional facility, or another party providing services to offenders on the Department of Corrections’ behalf, knowingly engages in a sexual act with an offender who is:
    • Confined to a correctional institution or facility
    • Currently supervised on parole, probation, supervised community sentence, or furlough by the Department of Corrections, and the perpetrator has a direct supervisory role over the offender

The penalty for this offense is a prison sentence not above 5 years, or a fine not above $10,000, or both

  • Sexual exploitation of a minor: This crime takes place when a person engages in a sexual act with a minor and is at least 48 months older than the minor, or has a position of authority, power, or supervision over the minor, as described by 13 V. S. A. § 3258 (2). The penalty is a prison sentence not exceeding a year, or a fine not exceeding $2,000, or both. Persons who not only commit this crime but abuse their positions of authority, power, or supervision over a minor, are subject to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or a fine not exceeding $10,000, or both
  • Sexual exploitation of a person in the custody of a law enforcement officer: Any law enforcement officer who intentionally engages in a sexual act with an individual who the officer or another officer detains, arrests, or holds in custody, is guilty of this crime. Offenders are punished with a jail sentence not more than 5 years, or a fine not above $10,000, or both

Sex Offender Levels of Classification in Vermont

Vermont law does not classify sex offenders as in some other U.S. states. However, the law covering sex offender registration (13 V. S. A. §§ 5401 - 5416) designates certain offenders as “high risk” or “sexually violent predators”. Under 13 V. S. A. § 5401, an offender who is classified as high risk is one who poses a high risk of danger to others, while a sexually violent predator is a person who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, as defined by 13 V. S. A. § 5401 (11), and who has a mental abnormality or personality disorder that constitutes a high potential to commit sexually violent offenses.

Usually, offenders are classified in groups indicative of their level of reoffending and their information is published on a public registry for purposes of community safety. Although offenders are not categorized in Vermont, the law outlines persons who are required to register:

  • Individuals convicted in Vermont on July 1, 1996, or after this date
  • Persons who were convicted before July 1, 1996, but under confinement or supervision by the Vermont Department of Corrections on July 1, 1996, or after this date
  • Persons who were convicted or released in another state on July 1, 1986, or after this date, and who became residents of Vermont on July 1, 1996, or after this date. In this case, a resident is an offender who has stayed in Vermont for a period exceeding 10 days, consecutively

The law also establishes convictions for which offenders will be required to register:

  • Sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated sexual assault of a child
  • Sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult
  • Lewd and lascivious conduct (with a child or without)
  • Kidnapping to commit a sexual assault
  • Solicitation or procurement for prostitution
  • Voyeurism (second or subsequent offense)
  • Slave traffic
  • Child sex trafficking, or sex trafficking by fraud, coercion, or force
  • Sexual exploitation of a child or minor
  • Any person who attempts to commit any of these offenses
  • Certain federal sex crimes

Vermont has 10-year and life registration for sex offenders. Persons who must register for life either have a second or subsequent conviction for a sex crime requiring registration, a sexual assault/aggravated sexual assault conviction, or are designated as sexually violent predators by the courts. Failure to register as a sex offender is a misdemeanor offense for a first conviction and involves a prison sentence of not more than 2 years, or a fine not above $,1000, or both. For a second or subsequent offense, it is a felony and offenders are subject to a term of imprisonment not above 3 years, or a fine not above $5,000, or both.

How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in Vermont?

In Vermont, interested persons may find a sex offender through the state’s Sex Offender Registry. This registry is maintained by the Department of Public Safety, Vermont Crime Information Center (VCIC) per 13 V. S.A § 5402(a). Other than the remote registry access provided, members of the public, government agencies, employers, and offenders can also access this registry with an offender’s name by visiting local enforcement agencies or using the VCIC contact information below:

45 State Drive

Waterbury, VT 05671–1300

Phone: (802) 241–5400

Fax: (802) 241–5552

Email: DPS.SOR@vermont.gov

Vermont Sex Offender Registry

The Vermont Sex Offender Registry is established by 13 V. S.A § 5401 et seq. With this registry, anyone can access and view sex offender information in the state. However, not all registered offenders are listed on the registry. The VCIC may be contacted with the details above for more information on these offenders. An individual can search for an offender by name (first and last), city/town, or county and obtain the following information about the offender from the registry:

  • Name
  • Alias(es), if available
  • Date of birth
  • Physical description
  • Photograph
  • Place of residence
  • The offense and date of conviction
  • Name and contact number of the offender’s supervisory local Department of Corrections office
  • Treatment information (if the offender has completed treatment or not)
  • Information on if the offender has a pending arrest warrant
  • If the offender is classified as “high risk”
  • Why the offender’s information is available on the registry

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are the Sex Offender Restrictions in Vermont?

Registered sex offenders living or working in Vermont and who have completed supervision with the Department of Corrections are not subject to any restrictions. Neither does the law direct them to disclose to other residents or employers that they are sex offenders.

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