BENNINGTON — The parents of a teenage girl are facing criminal charges after an incident which the state is calling domestic abuse, but a lawyer representing the girl’s father said was disciplining an unruly teenager.
Joy E. Bucchieri, 33, and Rex A. Lane, 37, both of Arlington, were arraigned on Monday in Bennington criminal court. Bucchieri was charged with misdemeanor charges of domestic assault and interfering with access to emergency services while Lane was charged with a felony count of second-degree aggravated domestic assault.
Lane is not accused of assaulting his daughter but of “egging (Bucchieri) on,” according to Bennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett. He was charged with a felony because he has a previous conviction from June 2000 for domestic assault, she said.
Both Bucchieri and Lane pleaded innocent to the charges. Bucchieri was released without bail but Lane was still being held on $5,000 bail on Tuesday around noon.
In an affidavit, Trooper James Wright of the Vermont State Police said he and an investigator from the Vermont Department of Children and Families met with the 15-year-old girl at Arlington Memorial High School on Friday.
The girl told investigators that her mother, Bucchieri, had been disruptive at the girl’s soccer games. According to the girl, it was a “regular occurrence” for Bucchieri to be “out of control, swearing and yelling” at the games.
On Thursday, following an incident at a soccer game in Proctor, Bucchieri was served with papers from the school district prohibiting her from attending future games. The girl told police that after the Bennington County Sheriff’s deputy who served the papers left, Lane accused her of being responsible for the order.
According to the girl, Lane yelled at her, even after she was sent to her room, and encouraged Bucchieri to “teach (the girl) a lesson.”
The girl told police her mother assaulted her while her father encouraged her by saying, “Get her, Joy, hit her.”
Wright said the girl told her she couldn’t contact police because Bucchieri took her cellular phone and there is no land line in the house.
According to the affidavit, Bucchieri and Lane denied the girl’s allegations, but Wright said Bucchieri told him “she did not care what happened to (the girl) and wished the state would take her.”
Because Bucchieri and Lane were arraigned as co-defendants, they could not both be represented by the public defender’s office.
David Silver, who represented Lane just for Monday’s hearing, described the girl as being a child who was “very unhappy with any restrictions or discipline and who has been agitating to leave the home.” Silver said the girl had a “big temper tantrum.”
“This is obviously a very stressful situation for the parents of this young woman ... she’s manipulating the system to get what she wants, and their position is that in this incident, this was a child being disciplined,” he said.
Silver said there was no physical evidence the girl had been assaulted.
“I think we have to be really careful in reacting to these very scary situations, that we don’t allow a teenager to use the system to, basically, get away from being disciplined by their parents,” he said.
Barrett said it was “inappropriate to almost blame the complaining witness.”
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