Stefan Hard / Staff Photo
Billy Lacillade, 44, of Williamstown, appears Monday in Washington County criminal court in Barre on the second day of his trial on the state’s charges that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl in Berlin in August 2010.
BARRE — A Williamstown man was convicted Tuesday of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in Berlin in 2010.
A jury of six men and six women found Billy J. Lacillade, 44, guilty of felonious sexual assault, no consent, in Washington County criminal court in Barre. The panel deliberated for nearly two and a half hours.
Barring a successful appeal, Lacillade will serve at least three years in prison with a maximum sentence of life. He is being held on $35,000 bail.
Judge Thomas Zonay ordered a pre-sentencing investigation, which is expected to take at least 30 days. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled afterward.
On Monday the victim, Lacillade’s wife, the doctor and nurse who treated the girl, and law enforcement officers testified for the state. The victim laid out the events of the evening in August 2010 when Lacillade arrived drunk at his wife’s residence in Berlin, where the girl was staying for the night. He flirted with the girl several times, slapped her buttocks and eventually came into the bedroom where she was sleeping and sodomized her.
Lacillade’s wife reluctantly testified that her husband came home drunk, flicked a lit cigarette at her and called her derogatory names. She also said that on the night of the assault, the victim immediately came and told her Lacillade had touched her. The wife had the victim sleep with her in her bed the rest of the night.
In court Tuesday, the state wrapped up its case with two forensic experts testifying that they found semen on the victim’s underwear she was wearing that night. A test revealed DNA from the semen matched Lacillade’s DNA.
When the trial was turned over to the defense, Lacillade’s attorney, Maggie Vincent, did not provide any witnesses on Lacillade’s behalf, nor did he testify.
In her closing statement, Deputy State’s Attorney Megan Campbell told the jury that Lacillade knew the victim “was a shy, timid kid. He took what he wanted from (the victim’s) body.”
In Vincent’s closing statement, she admitted Lacillade “did a very bad thing.” She said he was wrong in what he did because he was married and the victim was young and a friend of Lacillade’s daughter, but that what he did was not criminal.
The crux of Vincent’s argument was that the victim did not tell Lacillade to stop and did not fight back or yell for help, giving Lacillade consent by allowing the sex to take place. The age of sexual consent in Vermont is 16.
Campbell argued the girl was scared and did show signs of not consenting by not allowing Lacillade to “stick his tongue in her mouth” and pulling her hand away when Lacillade tried to have her touch him.
The victim sat stoically in the courtroom during both closing arguments. She left before the jury was given its direction from Zonay.
Before closing arguments, Vincent requested that Zonay drop the charge because of “lack of sufficient evidence” that the girl didn’t give consent.
“Is it your position that someone has to say, ‘No?’” Zonay asked.
Vincent said that was not her position but that the victim gave no response to Lacillade’s advances and no indication that she did not want to have sex with him. Vincent also said Lacillade never threatened the girl but instead pleaded with her not to tell Lacillade’s wife about the sex.
Zonay denied the request.
Vincent also tried to have the DNA evidence thrown out, saying the chain of possession had not been properly demonstrated and there could have been a chance for the DNA samples to be contaminated. Zonay denied that request too, saying Vincent had an opportunity to object to the evidence before it was entered into the trial.
After Lacillade was convicted, his wife broke down in tears and several other family members were overheard disparaging the victim.
Lacillade still faces a third charge of driving under the influence, a felony, in an unrelated incident. He has previous convictions for domestic assault, three violations of conditions of release and driving with a suspended license.
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