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Quechee Man Faces Charges Of Sex Assault Against Minors

Shane Harlow, 47, of Quechee, is  arraigned in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction yesterday on two counts of aggravated sexual assault on a minor. Beside him is his attorney Liz Kruska. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)

Shane Harlow, 47, of Quechee, is arraigned in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction yesterday on two counts of aggravated sexual assault on a minor. Beside him is his attorney Liz Kruska. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »

A Quechee man pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of sexually assaulting two girls who came forward with allegations last week.

Shane Harlow, 47, is being held without bail in Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., on two charges of aggravated sex assault. One victim was allegedly assaulted last week, according to court documents. The other was allegedly assaulted around 2008. Both victims were under the age of 12 when the alleged assaults occurred.

Harlow allegedly admitted to assaulting the girls, according to a police affidavit, and told police that he “needed help,” and had obtained counseling.

“The evidence of guilt is great in both matters,” Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand said during a brief hearing in Windsor Superior Court yesterday. If convicted, Harlow faces a possible sentence of life in prison.

Harlow was already facing criminal charges after he allegedly failed to stop last fall when his car struck an already-deceased Dartmouth College student whose body was lying on Interstate 91.

Harlow’s attorney, Liz Kruska, declined to comment after the brief hearing yesterday in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction. During the hearing, Kruska did not oppose Sand’s request to hold Harlow without bail, though she told Judge Robert Gerety that she may fight the bail order at a future court hearing.

The girls, who knew Harlow prior to the assaults and also knew each other, came forward last week, and the investigation progressed quickly, according to court documents.

As a general practice, the Valley News does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes.

Harlow, a former Dartmouth College security guard, does not have a criminal record.

Affidavits filed by Matthew Chin, a police officer with the Orange County Special Investigations Unit, and Hartford Police Detective Sgt. Michael Tkac give the following account.

One girl initially disclosed the abuse to a parent last week.

Last Friday, police visited Harlow at the Quechee Club, where he had been working. He initially denied the allegations, but under questioning, he told police that he had engaged in sex acts with the girl and was “ashamed of himself,” according to the documents.

Harlow initially said that he had only been “horsing around” with the other girl but later “admitted” to engaging in sex acts with the child as well, according to the affidavits.

One of the incidents allegedly occurred in Windsor County, and the other in Orange County. Sand said that prosecutors are likely to consolidate the cases under one jurisdiction, a move that could be aided by a recent personnel shuffle: The current deputy state’s attorney in Orange County, Michael Kainen, was appointed last week to replace Sand by Gov. Peter Shumlin. Sand, who is taking a job in Shumlin’s administration, is leaving his position later this month.

In December, Harlow pleaded not guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. He allegedly drove away after running over the body of Dartmouth graduate student Mikhail Lomakin, 24, who was lying in a travel lane of I-91 southbound in Wilder in October. Harlow was not charged with causing the Lomakin’s death. That case is still pending.

The investigation into Lomakin’s death had no connection to the sex assault charges, officials said.

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.