ST. ALBANS — Former Franklin County Sen. Norm McAllister accepted a plea deal late Tuesday in the second of two sexual assault cases he faced.
After more than eight hours spent seating a jury, McAllister agreed to plead no contest to two counts of prohibited acts and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct, said Diane Wheeler, first deputy state’s attorney in Franklin County.
The former Republican senator faced a more serious charge of sexual assault in addition to the two charges of prohibited acts in a trial that was scheduled to begin Wednesday. The sexual assault charge carried a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Lewd and lascivious conduct carries a maximum sentence of five years and up to a $300 fine. The prohibited acts charges carry a maximum sentence of one year each and a fine of up to $100 each.
McAllister’s sentence will be determined by a judge, with prosecutors and his defense having the opportunity to make their case for a particular sentence within the statutory parameters, according to Wheeler.
The first trial ended in June when the state dropped its charges because McAllister’s accuser in that case perjured herself on a minor detail. McAllister, 65, of Highgate Center, has remained free on conditions.
The trial scheduled to begin Wednesday centered on accusations that McAllister repeatedly sexually assaulted a woman who was living in a trailer on his Highgate farm. It was described as a sex-for-rent scheme.
The two charges of prohibited acts stem from police recordings of phone conversations between McAllister and the former mother-in-law of the woman he allegedly sexually assaulted in the current case. Transcripts of those conversations could be interpreted as showing McAllister negotiating sex with the mother for her son’s half of rent on the trailer.
The mother, who first approached police with allegations against McAllister, died of natural causes shortly after his arrest.
McAllister was arrested outside the Statehouse at the end of the 2015 session and suspended by his colleagues a year ago. He lost a bid for re-election in the August primary.
The former lawmaker still faces a civil suit from his accuser in this week’s criminal case. It seeks damages for the alleged sexual mistreatment and subpar living conditions in the farm trailer.