• Lawsuit alleges years of sexual abuse
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     | April 03,2013
     
    ERIC FRANCIS PHOTO

    Brett Bartolotta of Cavendish was back in court Monday for a hearing on whether he should remain free while he faces charges that he sexually assaulted a teen boy from Ludlow.

    WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Ludlow man has filed a lawsuit alleging that two Connecticut firefighters traveled to Vermont on their vacations and began sexually abusing him when he was 12 years old.

    The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for what it describes as a decade of physical and emotional trauma from sexual torture.

    One of the defendants in a criminal case, Frank Meyer of West Haven, Conn., killed himself in southern Vermont just days after the alleged victim, who is now 25, told his story to Vermont State Police detectives in late February.

    The remaining defendant, Meyer’s longtime friend Brett Bartolotta, 42, who has been living in Cavendish in recent years, was back in court Monday in White River Junction for a bail review hearing on the criminal case. At that time his attorney was handed the paperwork for the civil suit.

    The criminal charges allege repeated sexual assaults on a minor and also slave trafficking — the charge under Vermont law that prosecutors have said covers a situation in which someone is effectively coerced into “a life of prostitution.” Bartolotta’s charges carry a potential life sentence.

    The accuser was not in the courtroom Monday, but members of his family did sit a few rows behind Bartolotta.

    Seated with them was attorney Charlie Buttrey, who said after the hearing he filed the lawsuit against Bartolotta last week at the civil court in Woodstock. The suit seeks to freeze Bartolotta’s financial assets in anticipation of the alleged victim’s eventual claim for damages.

    “No amount of money will ever compensate this young man for the torture he underwent,” Buttrey said.

    Paperwork filed at the civil court highlights accusations from the criminal case affidavits alleging that over the years the teenager had been coerced into an escalating series of sometimes bizarre sex acts. Buttrey said his client was “seriously injured in and about his body and extremities (and) suffering severe physical pain and mental anguish therefrom.”

    The lawyer said, “We want to get him compensated for his injuries because he is going to be dealing with this for a very long time.”

    Buttrey also said he will likely file a similar lawsuit seeking damages from the estate of Frank Meyer.

    Bartolotta appeared fidgety during Monday’s criminal court proceedings as State’s Attorney Michael Kainen and defense attorney Cabot Teachout debated whether his bail should be revoked while his case is pending.

    Teachout argued to Judge Robert Gerety that Bartolotta’s presence in court Monday, especially after Meyer took his own life, helped demonstrate that Bartolotta is not a risk of flight.

    Teachout also disclosed that the bondman who posted Bartolotta’s $50,000 bail requires him to wear a GPS bracelet which monitors his location at all times.

    The judge took the bail question under advisement. He did add one additional condition to the terms of Bartolotta’s pre-trial release: He cannot have contact with anyone under age 18 except his 4-year-old son.

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