Vermont Sheriff Peter Newton has been arrested on sexual assault charges

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A woman contacted her local sheriff in May 2021, asking for protection from an ex, Vermont state police said, and when Addison County Sheriff Peter Newton met her, he promised to do just that.

Over the next seven months, the woman confiding in Newton, Sgt. Angela Baker, a state police officer, wrote an affidavit. And while the woman was initially only interested in a platonic relationship, that all changed when Newton embodied her idea of ​​security, according to the report.

Because he was sheriff, “she didn’t think he would hurt her,” Baker wrote.

Then he began to rape her, the woman told investigators. She “now knows that Newton used his job and position as sheriff to find and care for her to sexually assault her,” the affidavit reads.

On Tuesday, Newton, 50, was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual assault, one with second-degree unlawful restraint and one with domestic violence, state police said in a news release. He faces life imprisonment if convicted of sexual assault.

Newton has pleaded not guilty, VTDigger reported. His attorney, Jason Sawyer, did not respond to Washington Post requests for comment. But in April, Newton told VTDigger that he thought people would stage the case against him to “smear” his name as he geared up for re-election.

In a Facebook post the following month, he called the story of the woman’s 911 calls “nonsense.”

According to the affidavit, she called 911 on Feb. 26 while at Newton’s home. When police responded, the woman told them that — although she and Newton often had consensual sex — there were times when he “took it too far” and “exceeded what she thought was fine.” Officials photographed bruises on the woman’s body – marks that police described as “significant”.

Newton told police at the scene that he wanted the woman out of his home. He described her as “paranoid”.

The woman told police she did not want to press charges and only called so she could document and prevent the incident.

No arrests were made that morning, but state police investigators spent months trying to persuade the woman to give an interview. When she finally agreed to attend one this month, she told them she met Newton around May 2021 when she needed help with her children’s father, whose actions made her feel insecure.

Newton told the woman he would investigate her ex and that “she would be safe with him,” the affidavit reads.

Newton and the woman communicated often afterward, the woman said. Around December, their relationship turned sexual, the report said. But often, the woman told police, Newton raped her when she was too drunk to consent or engaged in sexual acts she had specifically told him were forbidden.

Once, she told police, Newton put a belt around her neck during sex without her permission. He “just did it,” says the affidavit.

“She recalled raising concerns that he would kill her by strangling her,” the report adds.

Occasionally, when she asked him to stop, “the situation got worse,” the woman told police.

“Peter doesn’t hear the word no,” she said.

In her interview with state police, the woman gave more context to the February 26 incident. She told investigators that she and Newton fell out after telling Newton he didn’t support her, the affidavit said. When she told him that, he gave her a “look” that meant he was “going to sexually punish her and hurt her,” she told police.

According to the affidavit, she called 911 before this happened.

State police began investigating in early March, which eventually led to Newton’s arrest on Tuesday.

When news of Newton’s case broke, he insisted that he would run for sheriff for another four years. He has since announced that he will only serve out the remainder of his term, which ends in early 2023.

Following Tuesday’s arraignment, Newton was released on bail after agreeing not to own guns or engage in law enforcement activity, prosecutor Rory Thibault told The Post. The sheriff has said on Facebook that he plans to continue working at a contracting company he started, VTDigger reported.

The Addison County Bailiff, an elected officer who takes an acting role if the sheriff-elect is imprisoned or resigns, found that Newton was not proven guilty but urged him to resign immediately.

“It is simply impossible for Sheriff Newton to continue serving the community as law enforcement under the cloud of these very serious charges,” said High Bailiff Dave Silberman a press release on Tuesday.

Newton told reporters Tuesday that he has no plans to do so.

“I’m still the sheriff,” he said.

Jessica Lipscomb contributed to this report. Vermont Sheriff Peter Newton has been arrested on sexual assault charges

James Brien

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