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State's Attorney's Chief Deputy
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Bennington County State's Attorney Christina Rainville said the state had dismissed the charge because her office's investigators believed that while the student was credible, the incident did not constitute a criminal act.
The lewd and lascivious conduct charge involved a different student who was 12 when she spoke to police. Bennington County State's Attorney Christina Rainville said the state had dismissed the charge because her office's investigators believed that while the student was credible, the incident did not constitute a criminal act. The lewd and lascivious conduct charge involved a different student who was 12 when she spoke to police.
In a motion filed this week, Christina Rainville, chief deputy state's attorney in Bennington County, asked the state's top court for reconsideration in two recent Bennington criminal cases.
Rainville said in the motion that one issue at stake was whether the Department of Mental Health should have sole authority to request an extension of treatment beyond 90 days. "The description provided by (Morris) demonstrates how countless defendants are being denied services and hospitalization solely based on their diagnosis of disability," Rainville said, "such that defendants with Huntington's disease, autism, PTSD and dementia are routinely being denied care and sent to prison when they re-offend, when they … should be in a hospital." Rainville declined to comment on the brief Wednesday because it's an open case. Rainville said this could not have been the intent of the Legislature, because if only that department has standing, there could be no hearing as no one would be allowed to offer another view. The brief points to a cycle that prosecutors say is not uncommon: A person with mental problems commits a crime and is arrested and found incompetent. A 90-day order is issued, but then the person is released by the Department of Mental Health, whether the prosecutor agrees or not, and the person then commits another crime. "As a result, public safety is put at risk and many defendants who should receive services in a hospital are instead released with no services and no supervision - only to be housed in jail, again and again, when they repeatedly commit crimes and start the process over," Rainville said.
"Our CAC is a leader in Vermont, and indeed the nation, for cutting edge work in changing laws that protect children," said Christina Rainville of the Bennington County State's Attorney's Office.
Legislators in January heard from Bennington County State's Attorney Christina Rainville and sexual violence victims' advocates, who said the existing law was inadequate.
"I went and looked at the statute and I was shocked to see that, in fact, our definition of prostitution did not cover this," Rainville told the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rainville also did not respond to a request for comment.
The student was not in the courtroom on Monday but Christina Rainville, chief deputy state's attorney for Bennington County, said the girl was aware of the plea agreement and said she and her family supported the resolution.