Crime and Justice

St. Albans police officer accused of assault and kidnapping released on conditions

Zachary Pigeon, 29, was charged with kidnapping and assault along with his father. State police photo.

A judge Monday ordered that a St. Albans police officer who allegedly broke into a woman’s home, beat her up, threw her down a flight of stairs, and burnt her repeatedly with a cigar — all with the help of his father — be released on conditions.

Zachary and Allen Pigeon, 29 and 56, respectively, each pleaded not guilty Monday to five charges: simple assault, kidnapping, obstructing justice, burglary, and unlawful restraint.

The kidnapping charge carries the possibility of life behind bars, with the additional charges collectively adding the potential of another 26 years imprisonment. 

State police had said Sunday that Zachary Pigeon would also face an aggravated sexual assault charge, but that was not included in the counts filed against him in court Monday.

At an arraignment at the Chittenden County criminal court, Judge Gregory Rainville ordered both Zachary Pigeon and his father Allen Pigeon be released on conditions -- citing the coronavirus.

Rainville said it was a “very close case,” particularly for Zachary Pigeon, noting that he had no criminal record, but that the alleged crime was a “very heinous act” that carried the possibility of a life sentence.

“However, given the Covid-19 emergency, we’re trying not to introduce any new inmates unless absolutely necessary,” Rainville said.

Allen Pigeon, 56, was charged with kidnapping and assault along with his son. State police photo.

The conditions of Zachary Pigeon’s release require that he maintain a 24-hour curfew in the home of a “responsible adult,” in this case, his aunt. He will not be allowed to leave the residence, other than for medical emergencies and court appearances. 

State’s Attorney Diane Wheeler argued in favor of both men being held without bail.

Rainville made the same ruling in Allen Pigeon’s case, though he did not designate a specific responsible adult, and acknowledged the possibility that the Franklin County court would “probably” loosen the restrictions of his release soon, potentially allowing Allen Pigeon to return to work as a plumber and realtor and care for his elderly parents as needed, remaining at home at all other times.

Allen Pigeon’s lawyer, Frank Twarog, argued it would be difficult to establish probable cause in his client’s case, noting the affidavit did not specify who took what actions and instead used “they did this, they did that” language.

According to a police affidavit, Zachary and Allen Pigeon allegedly broke into the victim’s home on April 5, and physically assaulted her, including pushing her down stairs and burning her back with a cigar.

The woman said she was “100% certain” Zachary and Allen Pigeon were the perpetrators despite her assailants wearing surgical masks. 

She said they threatened her to stay silent about previous assaults. 

According to state police, they began the investigation Friday when the 26-year-old woman reported that she had been sexually assaulted. Police said through their investigation they learned that Zachary Pigeon allegedly threatened and sexually assaulted the woman repeatedly over a several year period.

According to the affidavit, Zachary and Allen Pigeon told the woman “if she said anything more, or tried to get them in any more trouble, she’d be dead, or she’d be wishing she was worse than dead,” according to the affidavit.

On Sunday, police interviewed Zachary Pigeon about the incident. He denied the claims and said the victim was unreliable. 

Following the interview, both Pigeons were arrested and brought to the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility. Their arraignment was held by video-conference.

The St. Albans Police Department declined to comment on the case.

In the past several years, St. Albans police officers have been involved in a number of cases of inappropriate conduct, including an officer alleged to have struck a handcuffed woman in the face, and another alleged to have pepper-sprayed a handcuffed man.

This story was updated at 6:20 p.m. Monday

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Ellie French

About Ellie

Ellie French is a general assignment reporter and news assistant for VTDigger. She is a recent graduate of Boston University, where she interned for the Boston Business Journal and served as the editor-in-chief of The Daily Free Press, BU’s student newspaper. She is originally from Duluth, Minnesota.

Email: [email protected]

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