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Rape charges filed in Vermont after alleged kidnapping of New Hampshire woman

  • FILE - This undated identification file photo released Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, by the Vermont State Police shows Everett Simpson. Simpson is due in federal court Friday, Feb. 22, 2019,in Burlington, Vt., on charges he abducted a woman and her child outside the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, N.H., then drove them to Vermont. (Vermont State Police via AP, File)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/1/2019 4:18:40 PM
Modified: 3/5/2019 10:13:36 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A 41-year-old Vermont man who is facing federal charges alleging he kidnapped a New Hampshire woman and her son outside of a Manchester mall in early January is now facing state charges that he raped the woman at a White River Junction hotel later that day.

Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill on Friday charged Everett Simpson with sexual assault — kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault — kidnapping, and aggravated operation of a motor vehicle without the operator’s consent.

Simpson is currently being held on bail for his federal charges, and he likely won’t appear in the White River Junction court to answer to the state charges until his federal case wraps up, Cahill said.

Windsor Superior Court Judge Timothy Tomasi on Friday found probable cause in the case and issued an arrest warrant for Simpson, which states authorities should hold him on $500,000 bail. If convicted of the felonies, he faces life in prison. At least one of the charges has enhanced penalties because Simpson is a habitual offender; Simpson has at least six convictions on his record from 1995-96, including burglary and escape.

The newly filed court case in White River Junction lays out what is alleged to have occurred once Simpson crossed the border into Vermont with the 23-year-old woman and her 4-year-old son. (As a general practice, the Valley News doesn’t identify the victims of sex crimes.)

Meanwhile, Cahill, the prosecutor, said Simpson’s case points out flaws in the way the state of Vermont and its court system handles defendants who have substance abuse problems and who may pose a risk to the community.

Around 12:45 p.m. on Jan. 5, Simpson “elbowed” the woman, who lives in Merrimack County, into the passenger side seat of her Kia sedan outside the Mall of New Hampshire and drove north on the interstates, crossing into Vermont and going to the Bradford and Fairlee area, where he asked her to knock on a door in an attempt to find his wife, according to the affidavit written by Hartford Police Officer Scott Moody.

Simpson, the woman and her son then left and went to Thetford, where he allegedly tried to sexually assault her on the side of the road. She cried out for help and people in the area noticed and ran toward the car, but the man drove off, so they called state police, the affidavit states.

Fearing that he might try to kill her if he raped her in a remote area, the woman pleaded with Simpson to take her to a hotel, so he stopped at the Comfort Inn in White River Junction. She suggested a hotel in part because she knew there would be cameras, according to the affidavit.

Simpson was concerned about the fact that there would be surveillance and he told the woman they needed to act like a “happy family” when they checked in. He held her and her son’s hands and told her he would hurt her if she said anything, the affidavit states.

He had her rent the room.

When they arrived inside it, he took his clothes off and “forcefully” undressed her and proceeded to assault her, during which he repeatedly said he needed to leave afterward, according to the affidavit.

Following the alleged rape, he said “thank you,” got dressed, ripped the hotel phone out of the wall and threatened her about speaking up once more before leaving the room, according to the affidavit. Simpson also took her cellphone to the front desk and told her to wait 5 minutes before leaving the room. Her son cried throughout the incident, the affidavit states.

The woman then left the room and called her family, who in turn called Hartford police, according to the affidavit.

Simpson was arraigned last month on the federal charges and entered pleas of not guilty in U.S. District Court in Burlington to two counts of kidnapping and two counts of interstate transport of a stolen vehicle. He remains held at Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton, Vt.

Two days before the alleged kidnappings, on Jan. 3, the Vermont Department of Corrections released Simpson after he posted bail in an unrelated case that includes charges of vehicle theft, high-speed pursuit and aggravated assault on a trooper in Lyndonville. He was ordered to attend Valley Vista, a substance-abuse treatment facility in Bradford, Vt., and he arrived there that day. However, he left the facility on Jan. 4, prompting Valley Vista to notify police as the facility was required to do.

Vermont State Police initially said they didn’t get that notification but later retracted that statement.

The agency also said additional steps should have been taken after it learned that Simpson had escaped, and it announced a formal investigation.

In an initial statement about the case, Vermont State Police said Simpson “escaped” from Valley Vista.

Cahill, the prosecutor, argued that terminology isn’t correct. There is no such thing as a “secure residential treatment facility” in Vermont, Cahill wrote in an email on Friday.

“We don’t have those,” he said. “The State has not invested in providing an environment where individuals can receive intensive substance abuse treatment while also being kept behind lock and key for protection of the public. … We have prisons. We have private-sector medical facilities. We don’t have anything that blends the two.”

The case also points out a flaw in Vermont law, Cahill said.

State law doesn’t allow a judge to hold a pretrial suspect without bail who is believed to pose a risk to the public unless they already are facing a “very serious offense,” such as murder or kidnapping, Cahill said.

“Thus, even before the Valley Vista saga unfolded, Mr. Simpson could have gone free at any time had he enjoyed the financial resources to post bail,” he wrote. “Under Vermont law, bail is set merely to secure future appearance in court. It does not exist to protect the public, and judges are generally not permitted to set high bail in order to achieve protection of the public through detention. The phenomenon of Everett Simpson on the loose is a direct result of how Vermont law is structured.”

Simpson is being represented in the federal case by David McColgin, a federal public defender. Reached late Friday, McColgin said he had no comment.

The victim has retained attorney Anthony Carr of Shaheen & Gordon in the case, and has threatened to sue both the state of Vermont and Valley Vista.

Reached on Friday, Carr declined to comment.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.




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