A Vermont sheriff is not stepping down after pleading not guilty to four charges including sexual assault, local investigative outlet VTDigger reported.
Vermont State Police arrested Addison County Sheriff Peter Newton on Tuesday after investigating him in connection with a “domestic disturbance” at his Middlebury, Vermont, home in February, according to a Vermont State Police spokesman.
The charges are two counts of sexual assault, an unlawful restraint charge and a domestic violence charge, police said.
If convicted, Newton could be sentenced to up to life in prison.
The woman who accused Newton of sexual assault said he acted as if his position as sheriff made him “above anyone,” according to an affidavit from a Vermont State Police detective cited by VTDigger.
The affidavit detailed how the woman allegedly looked to Newton for aid because she was in an abusive relationship. The woman said Newton allegedly “became controlling” and had sex with her without her consent, according to the affidavit.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Newton’s attorney Jason Sawyer told the Chittenden County court that the sheriff was a “duly elected” official who would be willing to “just carrying out administrative” duties, according to VTDigger.
After his appearance, Newton said he was “still the sheriff” and wouldn’t resign despite a judge approving a request meant to prevent him from performing “law enforcement duties.”
In May, the sheriff announced he would not run for reelection and suggested people hoped to tarnish his “good reputation,” New England Cable News reported.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.