A prosecutor dismissed sexual assault charges brought against State Senator Norman McAllister by his former legislative assistant after she admitted changing her story about the assaults, The Washington Post is reporting.
The woman testified that the senator had oral sex and intercourse with her at his home farm where she worked. The Republican was on trial on two counts of sexual assault that could have given him two life sentences if he had been found guilty.
Woman Testifies State Senator Sexually Assaulted Her at Farm, Sen. Norman McAllister, on trial pic.twitter.com/aVEc057G1l
— THREAT-CADRE, LLC (@THREATcadre) June 16, 2016
One of McAllister’s lawyers got the 21-year-old girl to acknowledge that she had changed crucial aspects to her story when she was interviewed by police and when in her pretrial sworn statements. It was a surprising conclusion to a high-profile trial that was not meant to end so quickly.
The prosecutor, Deputy State Attorney Diane Wheeler, had told the presiding Judge Robert Mello, “based on some information that has come to light that I’ve shared with the defense and with the court, the state is in the position to dismiss.” Judge Mello had gone ahead to strike out the charges against the Vermont lawmaker and told members of the jury that their services would no longer be required.
McAllister, who has always maintained his innocence, faces another trial still bordering on sexual offenses involving two women. One of the purported victims has since died. His defense team is planning to confront the authenticity of the witnesses if the trial goes ahead.
Vermont state senator Norman H. McAllister charged with with sexual assault, human trafficking http://t.co/nuwqKyI87n pic.twitter.com/YqA58ivy8C
— Brattleboro Reformer (@BrattReformer) May 8, 2015
His initial trial got underway Wednesday when the young woman who worked at his farm in Franklin told jurors that she was coerced to have oral and penetrative intercourse with the senator.
During a cross-examination session, defense attorney David Williams pointed out that her story to police and sworn statements as well as testimony in front of members of the jury had been strikingly different. When Williams had asked her, “You told two different spectacularly different stories correct?” she had agreed the stories were different. Wheeler, who could not comprehend how that type of information was only brought to light at trial, quickly dropped the charges, saying she did not want anything to affect future trials.
Another attorney for the defense, Brooks McArthur, confirmed that the case had been thrown out because the accuser lied under oath. “I can tell you that she testified untruthfully under oath. The state recognized her testimony was untruthful,” he said. However, he refused to provide details of what she said exactly that were untrue.
The unidentified woman, who was 16-years-old when the assaults allegedly occurred, said she was forced to perform oral sex on McAllister inside his barn when she worked as a farmhand, and during a particular incident, the senator threw her over his shoulder, bundled her to a bedroom and sexually assaulted her there.
At 4-foot 11 and weighing less than 100 pounds, she said she was no match for the 6-foot-1 legislator who always overpowered her even though she did not want to have sex with him. According to her, she was attacked at least 30 times. She said she did not want it happening, but continued to work as farmhand and subsequently as his legislative assistant.
McArthur said that the resolution reached “essentially corroborated that the justice system still worked.” He added that his client was always confident that he would be absolved of all the charges brought before him. McArthur lauded Wheeler, saying that she was ethically driven and did the right thing in dropping the case.
The Republican lawmaker, who is up to be reelected this fall, was suspended because of the charges brought against him. The Senate had agreed to suspend the senator with a “for” vote that came to 20-10. Majority Leader Senator Phil Baruth and.Minority Leader Joe Benning stood staunchly behind the decision. Benning had said that the Senate was not a court of law, adding that it had always adhered to its own set of rules.
[Image via Shutterstock/Alessandra Siragusa]