BARRE — After a judge refused to accept a plea deal where he would not serve any jail time, a former Cabot man will serve 60 days in jail for performing oral sex on a 13-year-old boy in 2005.
Henry E. Menard, 70, was convicted in January of sexual assault on a victim under 16 years old, by having oral sex with the boy three times in the span of a week. He was sentenced in Washington County criminal court in Barre Friday to three to 10 years all suspended, with 60 days in jail and 90 days home confinement. The original agreement between the state and Menard called for no jail time and 150 days home confinement.
Judge Thomas Zonay said that agreement was not acceptable because it did not include any jail time. Menard’s attorney, David Kidney, and Deputy State’s Attorney Megan Campbell then worked out the agreement where Menard would spend two months in jail. Campbell said she was fine with the new plea deal as the victim in the case has said he does not want to be involved in Menard’s possible trial.
Before the agreement was reached, Kidney argued for no jail time as he said the incident with the boy was just a “slip up” and several people had written letters to the court in support of Menard saying how great of a person he was. Zonay pointed out how the letters could also be seen in a different way.
“The very characteristics that everyone is glowing about with Mr. Menard are indeed what this court views as the exact characteristics which provided him the access, which provided him the ability and which provided him that trust that was violated by perpetrating on this young man ... It was the very essence of everything that was good that provided the basis for him to do this,” Zonay said.
Zonay also addressed the notion that this incident was just a “slip up.”
“If he did it one time, that argument could be as compelling as you could get ... It wasn’t, ‘Oh my God, I just did this. What did I do?’ It’s ‘I did this. I’m doing it again and I’m doing it again.’ I think there’s a difference,” he said.
Kidney also tried to argue that the boy did not recall who initiated the second and third sex acts between himself and Menard, saying the boy could have been the one to initiate, but was too scared to admit it. Zonay proposed a different scenario where the boy knew who initiated, but was protecting his abuser, as he said sometimes happens in sexual assaults on children.
“Thirteen-year-old kids don’t initiate sex with 62-year-old men,” Zonay said.
Menard will report to Northeast Regional Correctional Facility in St. Jonhsbury on April 5 to begin his sentence.MORE IN Central Vermont
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