Public Safety

Vermont State Police trooper accused of illegally accessing suspect’s Facebook account

A Vermont State Police trooper is facing a criminal charge for allegedly illegally accessing a suspect’s Facebook account.

Paul Pennoyer, 29, of Barre Town, is due in Washington County Superior criminal court on Feb. 16 for arraignment on a charge of unauthorized access, according to a press release sent late Wednesday by Vermont State Police.

Pennoyer was cited Wednesday following an investigation by a detective outside of Pennoyer’s region who was assigned to lead the probe that began in July, according to the release.

Police said an investigation found that Pennoyer obtained consent to search a suspect’s cell phone as part of an investigation, and during that search, he got login credentials for the suspect’s Facebook account.

Pennoyer then continued to use those Facebook credentials without the person’s consent, the release stated. In July 2022, Pennoyer accessed the Facebook account and read private messages in an attempt to find the person after a motor vehicle pursuit, according to the release.

Pennoyer has been on paid leave since July, police said. He joined the state police in July 2018, and has been assigned to the Derby barracks since his graduation from the Vermont Police Academy in January 2019. 

State police said they worked with Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver throughout the six-month investigation.

Additional details are expected to be released following Pennoyer’s arraignment, when the affidavit of probable cause for the charge becomes public. 

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Alan J. Keays

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