Former Deputy Faces Charges Against Minor
Ex-Woodstock Resident Will Take Stand in Alleged Lewd Conduct Trial
Richard Kelley looks down to unbutton his jacket after the court recessed for the evening after the first day of his trial at the Windsor District Court in White River Junction yesterday. Kelley, a former Woodstock resident and former Windsor County Sheriff’s Department Deputy, has been accused of lewd and lascivious conduct with an underage girl. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
White River Junction — A trial began yesterday for a former Windsor County Sheriff’s Department deputy charged with engaging in lewd and lascivious conduct with an underage girl several years ago.
Richard Kelley, 57, a former Woodstock resident who resigned when the allegations surfaced in late 2010, faces up to 30 years in prison on two felony charges. Both Kelley and the alleged victim are scheduled to testify in the week-long trial, attorneys said.
A jury of seven women and six men (one alternate will eventually be eliminated before deliberations begin) listened to opening arguments and the first few witnesses yesterday in Windsor Superior Court.
Assistant Vermont Attorney General Ultan Doyle told jurors that they will listen to testimony from several witnesses, including the alleged victim.
“Our justice system relies heavily on the collective wisdom and common sense of jurors like you,” Doyle said. “The state asks you to listen to all the evidence you will be hearing in the next few days.”
But Kelley’s attorney, Brian Marsicovetere, said the allegations are baseless.
“Mr. Kelley didn’t come here to sit behind that table and watch everything unfold,” Marsicovetere said. “He’s going to walk up there and tell you about everything he has been through. He’s going to walk up there and tell you ... the environment was created to spawn these false allegations. He didn’t do this, he’s not guilty.”
Kelley, most recently of Pawlet, Vt., is charged with committing crimes in Woodstock between 2006 and 2008 and again in 2009. The alleged victim was under 13 years old at the time.
As a general practice, the Valley News does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes. The victim knew Kelley, who joined the Windsor County Sheriff’s Department in 1997, and resigned in October 2010 as the investigation intensified.
Prosecutors began by trying to tackle an obstacle in many sexual misconduct cases: The lack of physical evidence or independent witnesses, and a gap between when the alleged attacks occurred and when they were reported. The victim came forward in 2010.
Under questioning, Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Dan Elliott, the lead investigator, said the allegations fit the pattern of most sex cases he has investigated.
“I don’t recall any cases I had that were witnessed,” Elliott said. “The majority of these cases … have no physical evidence.”
Since Kelley was a county employee, the Windsor County State’s Attorney’s Office had a conflict of interest, and turned over the case to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.
Mark Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3304.