A Vermont man pleaded not guilty to charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct with obscene language Monday in criminal court in Rutland, following a disastrous Easter egg hunt Saturday.
The event, held at the Wilson Castle in Proctor, drew a large crowd, estimated at 1,500. Several parents who brought their families told necn there appeared to be insufficient staff on-hand to manage the crowd, with not enough Easter candy or entertainment for all who turned out.
Michael Cuthbertson, 34, of Newbury, was arrested at Saturday's Easter egg hunt after police pepper sprayed him.
"Everything went haywire," Cuthbertson recalled in an interview with necn Monday.
Rutland County Sheriff's Deputies said in court paperwork that Cuthbertson was agitated, yelling, and using a litany of swear words when trying to get a refund for the event. Officers said Cuthbertson also made vague threats to the event planner, threatened an officer, and then tried to run away when deputies tried to take him into custody.
"I never tried to hurt anybody; I never planned on hurting anybody," Cuthbertson claimed in the interview with necn. "I do believe these charges are trumped-up and highly overrated."
Home video from egg hunt attendee Sara Barnes shows several other parents were frustrated, too, at what they called an over-crowded and over-sold egg hunt.
"Some of the behavior was disgusting, to say the least," Barnes said of people waiting in line for refunds at the venue.
Barnes said tickets were $20 apiece for children, with parents' attendance included in that price.
Barnes said after a couple hours of waiting, her twins never even got to take part in an egg hunt and never entered the historic property. She is also waiting for a refund, she said.
"I think the kids were really looking forward to it," Barnes said. "I was really looking forward to making memories with them. And we never made it past the booth. We basically went there to stand there and never got in."
A company called Party OutFitters, which rents bouncy castles and other items for parties, put on the disastrous egg hunt.
Monday, necn attempted to find company owner Jeremy Griffin at Rutland's Diamond Run Mall, but he was not there when the station dropped by.
In a statement on the company's Facebook page, Party OutFitters wrote, "We feel terrible that the event did not go as planned and that we let down both parents and children. That is not how we like to do business, and we have taken a lot of lessons from this experience."
The historic Wilson Castle, where the egg hunt took place, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As for Michael Cuthbertson, he told necn he did use foul language when he got frustrated Saturday, but said he is not a bad person. He said he just wanted his money back so he could something more meaningful with his child with the $20 he spent.
Party OutFitters wrote on its Facebook page that it is providing refunds to customers with unripped tickets from Saturday's event.
Cuthbertson denied the two misdemeanor charges that could bring cash fines and even possible prison time if he is convicted.
Cuthbertson was released on several court-ordered conditions, including that he not contact the egg hunt organizer.