Victim Seeks Restitution
White River Junction — A Windsor County man who was allegedly used as a child sex slave by two men, has sued one of them, seeking to seize his home and bank accounts to compensate him for his suffering.
A Windsor Superior Court judge recently granted a request filed by the victim’s attorney to temporarily seize a house and bank accounts belonging to Brett Bartolotta, of Cavendish, Vt.
Bartolotta has pleaded not guilty to felony charges — aggravated sex assault and engaging in sex traffic — that, if convicted, could lead to life in prison.
According to police affidavits, the victim was repeatedly raped, hung from the ceiling with ropes and subjected to other acts during hundreds of incidents spanning several years beginning when he was 12.
The victim’s attorney, Charlie Buttrey, said he was hoping to use the defendent’s assets to pay for counseling and other assistance that his client will need.
“There is no amount of money that will ever compensate this young man for the torture he (endured),” Buttrey, based in Lebanon, said in an interview yesterday. “I’m hoping to get him compensation for his injuries. He will (need) counseling for along time. It has a dramatic effect on his mental health, understandably. He’s had to deal with this for a long time.”
As a general practice, the Valley News does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes. The victim, who is now in his early 20s, lives in Ludlow, Vt.
Bartolotta’s co-defendant, Frank Meyer, who worked as a police and fire dispatcher in Connecticut, committed suicide days after charges were filed last month.
Bartolotta returned to Windsor Superior Court yesterday, where prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to have him held without bail after Judge Robert Gerety declined to make an immediate ruling. Bartolotta has been free on $50,000 bail since his arrest.
Bartolotta’s attorney, Cabot Teachout, declined to comment.
Late last month, in the civil case, Judge Harold Eaton granted the temporary asset seizure requests without a hearing after Buttrey successfully argued that Bartolotta might attempt to liquidate or transfer assets if he was notified of the request before a hearing was held and the seizures were temporarily ordered.
“There is a reasonable likelihood ... that the plaintiff will recover damages, costs and fees and there does not appear to be any other source from which the plaintiff may recover besides the defendant’s personal and real property,” Eaton wrote.
Buttrey decided to file the civil suit even though the criminal case is still pending. It is unclear if a judge will put the civil suit on hold until a resolution of the criminal case.
The civil and criminal cases will proceed on parallel tracks. The standard for guilt is lower in civil court than in criminal court, and Bartolotta need not be convicted of crimes to lose his assets.
“The criminal proceedings will punish him, but it will not compensate the victim,” Buttrey said.
In February, the victim told police that he had been assaulted by the men from the time he was 12 until 2010, and had 300 to 400 sexual encounters with Meyer when he was between the ages of 12 and 16, and “easily” twice as many with Bartolotta, according to court documents.
The victim met Bartolotta in the summer of 2000 or 2001 while riding dirt bikes at his friend’s house in Ludlow, Vt, according to a police affidavit. Bartolotta, his friend’s neighbor, introduced himself and complimented his riding skills.
Bartolotta eventually sold the victim a dirt bike. The victim made weekly payments, the affidavit said, but eventually fell behind. The victim told police he felt bad because “he had become good friends with Bartolotta and Bartolotta had become somewhat of a father figure to him.”
The victim said his father had died years earlier.
Bartolotta told the boy he would make money if he participated in orgies like the ones he attended, the affidavit said.
Bartolotta then performed a sex act on the boy, after which Bartolotta paid him $100, the affidavit said.
The sex continued until Bartolotta told the victim he had finally paid off the debt for the dirt bike, according to court filings.
The visits continued. Bartolotta exchanged money and goods for sex, which included conventional sex, bondage and more, the affidavit said.
Mark Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3304.