BARRE — A Waitsfield man was arraigned on a charge of lewd and lascivious conduct at Washington County criminal court on Thursday.
Daniel Weber, 44, who denied the charge, faces up to five years in prison or a fine of not more than $300, or both, if convicted.
Vermont State Trooper Isaac Merriam said he was contacted by a woman who reported the alleged incident that occurred at about midnight at the Hideaway Bed and Breakfast in Fayston on Dec. 22.
Merriam said he met with the woman and her mother the next day and was told the woman and four of her friends went out together on the night of Dec. 22 and wound up at the Hideaway Bed and Breakfast.
The victim said she went to the bathroom and when she came out, the bartender, later identified as Weber, was standing in the hallway. He pushed the woman up against the wall and “began making out with her,” according to the affidavit.
The woman said she was in shock and froze, and then Weber groped her chest and made a remark, the affidavit said.
The victim told Weber she had to get back to her friends. She returned to the bar and went outside with one of them while the other friends paid the bill, the affidavit said.
The woman told Merriam that she wasn’t flirting with Weber, nor wearing anything provocative, and provided a description of the bartender. She said she thought he went by the name of Dan.
“While recalling the incident, (the woman) stated that she ordered one beer, later received another one without requesting it and took a shot with her friends and the bartender,” the affidavit said.
Merriam said he met with the owner of the Hideaway Bed and Breakfast on Dec. 23 and confirmed Weber was bartending the night of the alleged incident, but was told there were no security cameras in the establishment.
Merriam said he located Weber at his home later that afternoon and Weber confirmed he was working the night before.
When asked about the alleged incident, Weber confirmed the details provided by the woman, but said he believed the interaction to be consensual, the affidavit said.
Weber said he got “looks” from the victim at the bar and that he didn’t get looks very often, so he decided to act on it, the affidavit said.
Weber said he felt bad that the woman was upset, but repeated he thought the interaction was consensual.
The victim’s friends confirmed that she was visibly upset when returning from the bathroom, and that she wanted to leave the establishment immediately, the affidavit added.
Weber was released on conditions that he have no contact with the woman or her friends, and was ordered to appear again in court May 7.