BARRE — A request by an East Montpelier man convicted of having sex with a minor to be released from probation was denied by Washington County criminal court on Monday.
Eric Seitz, 27, was denied release from probation after the court heard he had violated his probation on four occasions.
Seitz was convicted in May 2012 of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. He was sentenced to two to 10 years, all suspended but 45 days deferred sentence.
Seitz was an 18-year-old Barre man when he was charged with having unlawful sex with his then-13-year-old girlfriend in February 2010, although the incident was not reported until three weeks later, according to court records.
On March 3, 2010, the victim told her mother that Seitz coerced her into having sex and ignored her repeated request that he stop, court records stated.
The allegation triggered a month-long investigation that included multiple interviews with Seitz and the victim’s mother, a lengthy conversation with the victim, and brief interviews with three friends – all with second-hand information about the case, court records stated.
According to court documents, Seitz never denied having sex with the victim, but indicated he believed she was 15 and was confident he was only 17 at the time. Seitz turned 18 on Jan. 17, 2010, the month before the offence.
The victim’s mother, who was aware of the relationship, disputed that claim, saying Seitz was well aware of her daughter’s age when he pressured her to have sex with him at her home on Feb. 8, 2010.
“‘He knew how old she was and he still violated my daughter,’” the woman told police, according to affidavits filed with the court.
During interviews, Seitz claimed he only learned the girl was 13 the day after they had what he described as “consensual sex” and he immediately broke things off.
According to court records, Seitz claimed the girl got angry when he stopped talking to her and started telling people he “raped” her and sending threatening texts to both him and a friend.
Seitz told police he did not save any of those texts but said a friend did.
However, based on an interview with Lord and his mother, Laurie Davis, the text to which Seitz referred was sent the same day the victim’s mother went to police.
Back in court on Monday, attorney James LaMonda filed a motion on Seitz’s behalf to be discharged from probation, despite violations of probation in December 2013, August and October 2017 and January 2018.
In testimony before the court, Seitz said he had been employed as a supermarket supervisor since May with the prospect of promotion and possible transfer to a South Carolina parent company, where he has family and hoped to start afresh. Seitz said he is also taking care of his daughter, who will be aged two in January.
After his most recent probation violation in January 2018, Seitz said he had “a wake-up call,” and after becoming a parent, decided he wanted to rebuild his life. He had also completed his sex offender treatment program at the end of last year, he said.
In answer to a question from Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault, Seitz admitted that his most recent violation in January 2018 was when he allowed his now-wife and their newborn child to go to his home after the child was born, despite the fact she was aged under 18. Seitz’s probation prohibited him from having relations with anyone under the age of 18.
Thibault said that while he recognized the progress Seitz had made, he had still violated the terms of his probation. Thibault filed a request that Seitz remain under state supervision until September 2020 – two years after the September 2018 date the January 2018 violation was entered into court.
Judge Mary L. Morrissey agreed that Seitz should remain on probation under state supervision until the court was satisfied that sufficient time had passed since completing sex-offender treatment and without further violation and “respectfully denied” his request to be discharged from probation.
The court left open the possibility that his probation could be transferred to South Carolina, if he chose to relocate for work.