BRATTLEBORO -- Two men have pleaded guilty in connection with an early morning sexual assault at the Brattleboro parking garage in November.
Jeffrey Anderson, 30, of Brattleboro, and William Brown, 30, of Hinsdale, N.H., entered pleas in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division and will be sentenced at a later date.
Brown's deal calls for five years, six months of jail time, while Anderson's agreement would allow him to stay out of prison due to deferred and suspended sentences. But Anderson's attorney, Chris Montgomery, noted that his client would face serious consequences if he fails to successfully complete probation under the terms of his deferred sentence for felony sexual assault.
"If he were to fail on his deferred, the maximum (sentence) would have to be life," Montgomery said.
Brattleboro police investigated the incident. Court documents say the victim reported that, on a drive back to Brattleboro from Keene, N.H., two men began to touch her inappropriately.
The three had been drinking at a Keene bar and departed just after midnight on Nov. 27. The victim reported that she was "really drowsy and not with it, feeling the effects of the alcohol," according to a police affidavit.
The Reformer does not identify victims of sexual assault.
Anderson was driving, police said, and he eventually parked the car at the parking garage in downtown Brattleboro. At that point, the police affidavit says, Anderson had unwanted sexual contact with the victim while Brown removed some of her clothing and attempted to have sex with her.
The victim told police she "kept kicking Brown away and saying, 'No,'" but Brown "told her that he wasn't going to do anything and it'll be OK, and then he tried it again," the affidavit says.
The incident ended when Brown received a phone call, and he and Anderson drove the victim to a home in Brattleboro. There, "she told Brown this isn't supposed to happen, and I'll remember this tomorrow," the affidavit says. The victim told police that Brown said, "'I hope so, baby,' and also told her to 'be safe.'"
Anderson later admitted having sexual contact with the victim, police said, and at some point during the evening had "thought to himself that this was going too far and was a bad idea." Anderson also told police that he had heard the victim "say 'No,' at least a couple of times," according to the affidavit.
Brown has pleaded guilty to lewd/lascivious conduct and aiding in commission of a felony (unlawful restraint). His deal calls for a total sentence of five years, six months to five years, six months and a day in prison. According to a stipulation of facts in his court file, Brown is admitting to touching the victim inappropriately and transporting her to a place "other than where she intended to go and by blocking her passage from the vehicle."
Anderson pleaded guilty to sexual assault and unlawful restraint. For the sexual assault, the plea agreement calls for a deferred prison sentence and three years, six months of probation. If a judge accepts Anderson's plea and he completes that probation, he could have the sex-assault conviction expunged from his record. If he violates his probation, however, Anderson would face a maximum sentence of life in prison -- the mandatory maximum for the sex-assault charge.
On the charge of unlawful restraint, Anderson's plea agreement includes one to two years of jail time, with that sentence suspended in favor of 24 months of probation.
Court papers say Anderson is agreeing that he had sexual contact with the victim "without her open and affirmative consent and knowing she was intoxicated to the point she could not give legal consent."
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.