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Vermont Legislature
Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

McAllister Shared A Bedroom With Alleged Victim, Housemate Says

Gregory J. Lamoureux
AP/POOL County Courier
Sen. Norm McAllister, shown here at his arraignment in St. Albans on May 8 on charges of sexual assault and prohibited acts, was sharing a bedroom in Montpelier with one of his alleged victims, according to Rep. Tim Corcoran, a roommate.

Franklin Sen. Norm McAllister was sharing a bedroom in Montpelier with the 20-year-old woman he’s accused of sexually assaulting, according to a House representative who lived in the same rented Montpelier house as the alleged rapist.

Bennington Rep. Tim Corcoran said Monday afternoon that, “as far as I know,” 63-year-old McAllister and the young woman he employed as a sort of legislative assistant were spending nights in the same room, on the occasions the woman stayed in the capital.

McAllister pleaded not guilty Friday morning to three counts of sexual assault and three counts of prohibited acts for allegedly coercing at least two female victims into having sex with him on scores of occasions over several years.

Among the alleged victims was a 20-year-old woman who, in addition to working on McAllister’s farm, also worked on his senate campaign and served as his part-time assistant in Montpelier, according to people familiar with their relationship. The victim told police that the last of McAllister’s alleged assaults occurred in April, at the Terrace Street home he shared with two other lawmakers in Montpelier.

Paul Heintz of Seven Daysinterviewed the alleged victim over the weekend; she told him that McAllister raped her “just about” every time she traveled to Montpelier to stay in the apartment. Heintz’s story includes an interview with Rutland Sen. Kevin Mullin, one of McAllister’s two housemates in Montpelier. Mullin reportedly told Heintz that the young woman slept in the basement when she stayed in their apartment.

“Besides Tim’s room, there was a bed down there, and I assume that’s where she slept,” Mullin told Heintz.

The alleged victim herself told Heintz that she slept on a couch in the living room.

But Corcoran says it was his understanding that alleged victim slept in McAllister's room.

“That’s the facts as far as I know them,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran said he went to bed early, and it’s possible that she left McAllister’s room after he fell asleep. But when he retired for the evening, according to Corcoran, the woman would be in McAllister’s room.

Asked if they shared the same bed, Corcoran said he didn’t know.

“I don’t know if there was a sleeping bag in there or a sofa or what,” Corcoran said.

Contacted by phone for Monday, Mullin declined to comment.

Corcoran said he could recall the young woman staying in Montpelier on “maybe eight” occasions, though he said he didn’t keep count. He said she was usually there when he arrived for the beginning of the legislative week on Monday, and that she would leave Tuesday or Wednesday.

“I usually came up on Monday nights … and they typically would be there, both of them,” Corcoran said. “And she probably left Tuesday night, Wednesday night.”

Corcoran said he never detected anything untoward going on.

“I never once thought that anything was amiss. I mean she never showed outward signs, as far as I can tell. Never showed anything that might be an indication ... I didn’t see anything,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran said he didn’t get to know the woman very well.

“People that know me, I’m pretty low key and keep to myself, so I never really engaged,” Corcoran said. “I might have said ‘Hi’ to her once or twice.”

The governor, lieutenant governor and legislative leadership all called on McAllister to resign Monday, and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott said he’d been told by someone close to McAllister Monday morning that a resignation would be forthcoming.

McAllister reportedly wasn't aware that anyone was promising his resignation to Scott, the Vermont Press Bureau's Neal Goswami reported Monday afternoon.

“Sen. McAllister has to resign,” Shumlin said during an impromptu press conference Monday afternoon. “Having now read the details of the allegations, it’s some of the most upsetting and extraordinarily troubling allegations that I’ve ever read against a public official.”

The alleged victim told Seven Days' Heintz that she stopped working for McAllister in April “because I just didn’t want to face it.” She said McAllister was nice with her when they were around other people, but became “aggressive” when they were alone.

“To me, he was always, like, pushing on to things,” the alleged victim told Heintz. “I don’t really know how to describe him. I always felt uncomfortable around him. But I don’t really have too many words for him.”

Franklin County State’s Attorney Jim Hughes said McAllister’s alleged crimes date back to December 2012 – the month after McAllister was first elected to the Senate – when a different woman moved into a trailer on McAllister’s property and he allegedly coerced her into having sex with him in exchange for the housing. She was also working on McAllister’s farm at the time, according to court affidavits.

Court documents allege that the arrangement went on for years, and included multiple incidents in which the victim cried out in pain and asked McAllister to stop. The victim allegedly told police that McAllister asked her for sex an “average of once or twice a month.” But there were some gaps of months when he did not – those gaps, she allegedly told police – coincided with her pregnancy.

“From the beginning of her employment [on the farm],” the documents say, “McAllister would ask her for sexual favors in exchange for her continuing to live and work at the property.”

The documents also say McAllister allegedly tried to get the victim to agree to let him bring her to another farm, where she would have sex with farm workers there for pay. Under the arrangement, the documents say, McAllister offered to split proceeds from the sex work, with McAllister’s half being counted as a rent payment.

The woman who stayed in the Montpelier house with McAllister and other legislators told Heintz that the assaults began long before 2012, and perhaps as early as spring of 2010.

The Vermont Statehouse is often called the people’s house. I am your eyes and ears there. I keep a close eye on how legislation could affect your life; I also regularly speak to the people who write that legislation.
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