Washington County, VT

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Washington County is a county located in the U.S. state of Vermont. Its population is about 58,000, its county seat is the city of Montpelier, the state capitol.  The town lies in the Green Mountains and has been home to Norwich University since 1866. The county population is roughly 58,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well documented problems throughout Vermont, including in Washington County.  For example, in May, 2011, police in Vermont’s Capital City said a 23-year-old woman faced a prostitution charge after she allegedly propositioned an undercover officer. Earlier that day police had encountered her soliciting sex for money downtown and issued her a warning. A short time later the undercover officer allegedly spotted her walking on State Street when she offered sex for money.

Sex buyer identity disclosure and loss of employment are consequence of buying sex that have occurred within the city. In August, 2018, a Northfield Selectboard member, who also worked as a deputy sheriff and EMT in Washington County, reached a plea deal over charges of solicitation of prostitution that would keep him from serving any time in jail if he completes counseling, 100 hours of community service, and takes part in the community reparative board process, according to prosecutors. He remained a select board member in Northfield, but resigned his position at the Washington County Sheriff’s Department shortly after he was charged. His status as an EMT in Barre Town was unclear. He had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of committing a prohibited act by soliciting prostitution in May 2018 in Shelburne. He received a 12-month deferred sentence and was placed on probation. If he abided by his probation and stayed out of legal trouble for a year, the charge would be cleared from his record. If any violation occurs, he would face the possibility of serving that time in jail. A felony charge of obstruction of justice was dismissed as part of the plea deal. Chittenden County State’s Attorney said that the plea agreement took into account the man’s lack of a previous criminal record and his acceptance of responsibility early in the case.

In October, 2021, a police review committee submitted a report recommending that the Montpelier City Council repeal city ordinances against prostitution and support a Vermont House bill that would repeal state laws against “consensual sex work.”

Key Partners

  • Washington County Sheriff’s Department
  • Chittenden County State’s Attorney

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Region:

Consideration of Local Decriminalization of Prostitution:

State Decriminalization of Prostitution:

State Vermont
Type County
Population 58409
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