The three-decade-old sexual assault case against Leonard Forte, a former New York police officer, has raised questions about how just the criminal justice system is, what loopholes a defendant can take advantage of and how crime victims can find closure when it eludes them in court.
Michele Dinko was recognized for her perseverance in pursuing 1987 child sexual assault charges against Leonard Forte, until the former New York police officer died in December.
Leonard Forte, a former New York police officer, died in December at age 80 after nearly 35 years of dodging allegations that he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl at his Landgrove vacation home in 1987.
Leonard Forte died in December after dodging the allegations for nearly 35 years, making it Vermont’s longest-running court case. Prosecutors say expunging the case — as the law dictates — would be the final miscarriage of justice.
Forte had for nearly 35 years evaded resolution of the case. He was accused of assaulting a 12-year-old girl at his Landgrove vacation home.
Leonard Forte, 80, has been asserting for nearly three decades that he is too sick to be retried and that his three felony charges should be dismissed. His first jury trial, in 1988, resulted in guilty verdicts.
The court earlier ruled that Leonard Forte, 80, is physically able to stand trial on allegations he sexually assaulted a preteen girl at his Landgrove vacation home. The case dragged on for decades after Forte continually claimed he was too sick to be prosecuted.
Leonard Forte, 80, was arrested Monday in Florida on charges of fraud and impersonation, and using a communications device to facilitate a felony, according to local law enforcement.
Leonard Forte, 80, is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in 1987. He was convicted in 1988, but that was later overturned and prosecutors have alleged he has faked illness to avoid facing a new trial for several years since.
Documents released Wednesday in the Bennington County case against 79-year-old Leonard Forte, now living in Florida, accuse him of repeated lies about his health to keep from having to stand trial on child sex offenses pending for more than 30 years.
Leonard Forte, a retired police detective from New York now living in Florida, is set to be arraigned next week in Bennington County on two felony counts of obstruction of justice.
A 78-year-old Florida man who failed to phone in last week met a judge’s order Thursday to call the court — but only after a last-minute request to be excused.
Judge Cortland Corsones said that if Leonard Forte does not call in to the conference next week, he could face a warrant for his arrest.
Two former Vermont Supreme Court justices will assist in the prosecution of an ex-cop from New York on charges of raping a 12-year-old girl in 1987. The defendant has claimed for decades that he is too ill to travel to Vermont for a trial.