McAllister has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and faces a criminal trial in May. The Senate suspended the Franklin County senator, pending the outcome of the case. McAllister was arrested at the Statehouse in May last year. He pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual assault and three counts of prohibited acts at his arraignment in Franklin County criminal court. The sexual assault charges are felonies and carry a potential sentence of three years to life in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
On Friday, McAllister sent a letter to Luke Martland, the head of legislative counsel, requesting that the committee meet to consider lifting his suspension.
Martland, in a memo to senators, said that the Franklin County State’s Attorney’s office “has indicated that they do not wish to begin the criminal trial until after the General Assembly has adjourned.”
“As a result, Sen. McAllister’s suspension will last for the complete session, and he therefore believes that it is equivalent to an expulsion,” Martland wrote. “In addition, with his criminal trial delayed, he is fully able to fulfill all of his duties as a Senator. As a result, Sen. McAllister requests that his suspension be lifted and he would like to be able to present his case to the Rules Committee.”
McAllister has requested a formal response from the Senate Rules Committee by Friday, March 11. The committee does not yet have a scheduled meeting time.
In comments made to Vermont Public Radio Tuesday, McAllister said there are “no rules down there as far as the Senate. They walk all over my constitutional rights, and they walk over Franklin County’s (rights of representation in the Legislature). They broke their constitutional oath.”
Last Friday, VTDigger’s Morgan True reported that one of McAllister’s accusers has sued the senator in civil court for sexual abuse in a sex for rent scheme. The victim says she was forced to perform sex acts as a condition of keeping her job and housing on the farm. The housing is a trailer located on McAllister’s goat farm.
In a separate legal filing on Feb. 12, McAllister is seeking to have his alleged victim evicted from the trailer on his property where she is staying. McAllister told VPR that she has not paid rent while living there. However in the suit the victim filed, she alleges that McAllister kept part of her wages as rent.
The eviction filing is not a public record because the court has not yet successfully served notice to the tenant, according to Court Operations Manager James Pelkey.
The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure say that a clerk can’t release records in a case until the defendant responds to being served the complaint or until 30 days after the defendant is served.
Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies have been unable to serve the alleged victim with the complaint. McAllister’s attorney in the eviction suit, Richard Gadbois, has filed a motion seeking a so-called “tack order” to have deputies post the complaint at her home, according to court officials. Gadbois did not return a call from VTDigger seeking more information about the suit.
McAllister, who is representing himself in the victim’s civil case, filed a motion on Sept. 25 requesting a stay in the proceedings, arguing that his constitutional right against self-incrimination outweighed the alleged victim’s “interest in expeditiously receiving monetary damages.”
The civil case is on hold until the criminal charges are resolved.
The judge has granted that order.
The victim is being represented in her suit against McAllister by the Burlington law firm Montroll & Backus, P.C. Attorney Rob Backus said he did not want to comment on the case, citing the pending criminal litigation against McAllister.