Cloudy
46°
Cloudy
Hi 50° | Lo 31°

Last Charge Dropped Against Deputy Acquitted of Lewd Conduct

Chelsea — The Vermont Attorney General dropped the sole remaining charge against a former Windsor County Sheriff’s deputy who was accused of engaging in lewd and lascivious conduct with two underage girls, ending a two-year case.

Richard Kelley had previously been found not guilty by a jury for two charges of lewd and lascivious conduct in Windsor County in March, but he faced another allegation in Orange Superior Court from a different accuser. Last month, the Attorney General dismissed the remaining charge without prejudice, which means it could be refiled in the future if it’s within the statute of limitations.

Assistant Attorney General Ultan Doyle said a lot of the evidence in Orange Superior Court would have been the same as what was presented in Windsor Superior Court.

“Just going over all the evidence, we just felt there wasn’t enough there to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Doyle said yesterday.

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

Doyle said the victim was consulted before the Attorney General’s Office dropped the charges, and Doyle said the victim was supportive of the dismissal.

The nature of the allegations in the two courts were similar, and in March, the prosecution had no physical evidence or witnesses. The same would have been true for the Orange County case, Doyle said.

“As in the first trial, the case would have hinged on the complaining witness testifying on what had occurred and then the jury,” Doyle said.

Defense attorney Brian Marsicovetere said after Kelley’s trail in March, and again yesterday, that this case has taken a toll on 57-year-old Kelley.

“As Mr. Kelley well knows, once you are falsely accused and tried for these types of allegations, the matter is never really over,” Marsicovetere said in an email. “He consistently maintained his innocence and the system worked in his case. But the life he knew was destroyed.”

Marsicovetere added that Kelley’s experience has been both aggravating and humbling.

“Imagine the possibility of being locked up for five, 10, 20 or more years based on the uncorroborated word of another person. Like the jury in Mr. Kelley’s case, which he thanks with all of his heart, we citizens must do our civic duty and insist on credible evidence that proves criminal conduct beyond any reasonable doubt before we raise our hands to convict.”

The case in Windsor Superior Court involved lewd and lascivious conduct involving girl under the age of 13 that authorities alleged took place in Woodstock between 2006 and 2008 and again in 2009. The Orange County Superior Court case involved a victim who was under 15 years old at the time and authorities alleged the incidents took place in Corinth between 2002 and 2003, according to court documents. Kelley’s accusers came forward an 2010.

Kelley began working for the Windsor County Sheriff’s Department in 1997, but resigned in October 2010 after the investigation began. Kelley has also worked as a Woodstock police officer. The Vermont Attorney General’s Office handled the case because Kelley had worked as a law enforcement officer, which meant the Windsor County State’s Attorney’s Office had a conflict of interest.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.