On Friday, the head of the Killington Arts Guild, dissolved in 2017, was found guilty by a jury of two counts of obscene and lascivious conduct.
Michael D. Young, 74, of Killington, was first arraigned in March 2017. He pleaded not guilty at the time, but reached an agreement in January 2019 that would have resolved the case through a plea agreement.
Lawyers in the case said they expected Young to be offered a sentence that would have been deferred for four years. If Young hadn’t had other legal issues, the charge would have been struck from his case.
Under the plea deal, Young pleaded guilty to one charge and the second was to be dismissed upon his conviction.
However, Judge Thomas Zonay said at a hearing in April 2019 that he had concerns about accepting the plea deal because Young owned a location in Killington where he lived and from which he operated. youth hostel.
Zonay said he was concerned that future guests would stay at the hostel unaware of Young’s criminal past and be exposed to the type of incident that led to the criminal charges.
Because he was unwilling to accept the plea deal, Zonay told Young he was able to withdraw the guilty plea he made in January 2019.
In March 2020, the case went to trial but ended with a suspended jury.
On Friday, however, a jury found Young guilty of both counts. Each of the charges carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
After the trial, the Vermont Department of Corrections was ordered to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and psychosexual assessment before Young’s conviction.
The charges were based on an accusation that Young exposed himself to a woman in 2013 during a time when he was treasurer of the Killington Arts Guild.
A webpage stated that the guild, which once had a gallery on Route 4, was founded in 1998 by a “variety of artists, aspiring artists and art lovers (and) supporters for improve and broaden their leadership by engaging in the creative exchange of ideas and possibilities.
The woman, who was one of the guild’s volunteers, told Vermont State Police that Young first exposed herself to her in 2013 while they were working on the opening of an art exhibition.
She told investigators that she initially thought Young accidentally left his pants open after using the bathroom, but said when she told him he was exposing his genitals, he said, “I hope that it was not a problem. “
According to an affidavit filed in the case, the woman said she told a friend about what happened and her friend said Young had a history of similar incidents.
The woman accused Young of exposing herself to her again, on two other occasions, when she had to go to his house to obtain checks from him in his capacity as treasurer. The woman said she didn’t recognize Young’s behavior because she was afraid. She said Young never said anything while he was exposing himself.
The woman told police that in 2015, after finishing teaching an art class at Sherburne Memorial Library, Young walked into the room, exposed himself behind her and began to touch her with inappropriately. She said she froze first, but then slammed her chair against him and told him to leave.
While these are the incidents that culminated in Young’s indictment and conviction, Zonay said a pre-sentence report written by Vermont Corrections staff after Young pleaded guilty in January 2019 said those incidents were not isolated events, but an “ongoing problem”.
Zonay told lawyers in the courtroom that in April 2019, District Attorney Travis Weaver, Rutland County Assistant District Attorney, and Robb Spensley, who represented Young, said he was concerned because Young would not have no record or listing on Vermont Sex. Offender registry, although he added that he doubted many tourists would consider consulting the registry before choosing a B&B in Vermont.
But after Spensley spoke to Young, he said his client couldn’t afford to move, and any requirement that Young notify future guests would likely end the business.
Young instead decided to withdraw his plea and request a jury trial. Spensley did not continue as Young’s attorney.
“It was a difficult case with many uncomfortable facts, but the jury heard our testimony and heard Mr. Young’s explanation, then rightly concluded that Mr. Young had broken the law on at least two occasions.” , Weaver said Tuesday.
Young, who has represented himself at the trial, declined to comment on Tuesday when reached by phone except to say he was trying to “think of a better way forward.”