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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 is facing 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.
Shaming 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.”
- Washington County Sheriff’s Department
- Chittenden County State’s Attorney
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest:
- https://vtdigger.org/northfield-selectman-charged-prostitiution-avoids-jail-time/ (2018)
- https://www.wcax.com/Part-time-Vt-cop-pleads-not-guilty-to-soliciting-prostitute-obstruction (2018)
- https://www.wcax.com/Northfield-Selectboard-member-charged-with-soliciting-a-prostitute (2018)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Region:
- “Prostitution Bust Catches Local Man, Shelburne Woman”, St. Albans Messenger, September 3 2008.
- “Woman, Man Arrested on Prostitution Charges”, Rutland Herald, September 4 2008.
- “Vt. Prostitutes One Click Away”, CBS/WCAX-TV 3, October 10 2008.
- “Shelburne Woman Admits Prostitution”, Montpelier-Barre Times Argus, March 18 2009.
- “Tip about Prostitution Leads to Woman’s Arrest”, St. Albans Messenger, April 22 2009.
- “Prostitution Bust in South Burlington”, CBS/WCAX-TV 3, April 23 2009.
- https://www.rutlandherald.com/news/woman-arrested-in-montpelier-for-prostitution (2011)
- https://www.wvgazettemail.com/woman-arrested-in-vt-capital-for-prostitution (2011)
- “Rutland Woman Arrested in South Burlington Prostitution Investigation”, Rutland Herald, January 27 2013.
- “Police Investigate Possible Prostitution Ring”, ABC/WVNY-TV 22, June 14 2013.
- “Shelburne Woman Accused of Prostitution in Court”, ABC/WVNY-TV 22, June 14 2013.
- “South Burlington Police Investigation Ends in Arrest”, ABC/WVNY-TV 22, June 14 2013.
- “South Burlington Woman Arrested for Prostitution”, ABC/WVNY-TV 22, June 14 2013.
- https://www.mychamplainvalley.com/news/mcallister-wins-new-trial-on-prostitution-related-charge (2018)
- https://vtdigger.org/2018/06/28/bus-driver-charged-human-trafficking-sexual-assault-minor/ (2018)
- https://www.caledonianrecord.com/court-testimony-in-prostitution-human-trafficking-case-details-vermont-s (2019)
- https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/trafficked/Content (2019)
- https://vtdigger.org/u-s-attorney-highlights-human-trafficking-vermont/ (2019)
- https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/convicted-sex-trafficker-sentenced-270-months-prison (2020)
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-vt/press-release/ (2020)
Consideration of Local Decriminalization of Prostitution:
- https://www.wcax.com/Vt-lawmaker-says-decriminalizing-prostitution-will-keep-sex-workers-safe (2020)
- https://vtdigger.org/2020/01/03/sex-work-decriminalization-bill-introduced/ (2020)
- https://suncommunitynews.com/news/86781/vt-legalized-prostitution-study-bill-returns/ (2020)
- https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/decriminalizing-prostitution-sex-workers-burlington-city-councilors-consider (2021)
- https://decriminalizesex.work/advocacy/state/vt/ (2021)
- https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2021/07/12/burlington-city-council-will-consider-decriminalizing-sex-work (2021)
- https://www.wkbw.com/news/bill-in-vermont-would-decriminalize-prostitution (2021)
- https://suncommunitynews.com/news/86781/vt-legalized-prostitution-study-bill-returns/ (2021)
- https://www.news10.com/news/police-review-committee-recommends-montpelier-decriminalize-prostitution/ (2021)
- https://vermontdailychronicle.com/city-of-montpelier-ponders-legalizing-prostitution-and-public-drinking/ (2021)
- https://www.news10.com/news/police-review-committee-recommends-montpelier-decriminalize-prostitution (2021)
- https://vermontdailychronicle.com/convicted-sex-traffickers-would-support-montpelier-legalization-of-prostitution-critic-says/ (2021)