‘I Was in Hell:” Woman Alleges Sex Assault by Vermont Lawmaker

TSen. Norm McAllister was suspended from the Vermont State Senate amid the sex assault allegations

Wednesday was day one of trial for a Vermont lawmaker accused of sexually assaulting one of his young constituents.

Sen. Norm McAllister, R-Franklin County, is accused of forcing sex on an employee of his dairy farm several years ago when she was still a high school student.

"I was in hell," the woman testified, describing how she felt one time when McAllister was on top of her.

Necn is not identifying the woman, because of the sexual nature of the case.

The petite woman testified the lawmaker forced her into both oral sex and intercourse, saying because McAllister is larger than her, he was able to overpower her. 

"He would tell me he wanted me to go upstairs. I told him no, and then he grabbed my arm," the woman testified, describing one alleged instance when she said the senator pulled her to his bedroom. 

The alleged victim testified under oath about more than five times when she rebuffed the lawmaker's advances but he forced himself on her anyway. 

"He told me he wanted to get in my pants. I laughed at him and told him no," the woman said of an interaction she said preceded unwanted sex.

McAllister is a Republican who represented rural Franklin County in the Statehouse until his suspension from the Senate early this year amid the sex assault allegations. 

McAllister protested the legislative suspension, because he had not been found guilty of anything and believed a presumption of innocence should have enabled him to keep representing Franklin County.

McAllister has insisted he never raped the woman. 

McAllister's lawyers said Wednesday that her story has changed so many times that it cannot be believed, and added there's just no proof of sexual assault.

"In addition to all the inconsistent evidence related to the sexual assault allegations, you'll learn there was no physical evidence of the sexual assault, and there was no medical evidence to support the sexual assault allegations," defense attorney Brooks McArthur told the jury in his opening statement.

The woman said she kept working for McAllister or family members after the initial alleged sexual encounter because she needed a job. She testified that she never asked anyone for help because she has always been an independent type who has been reluctant to do so. 

The young woman said eventually, she took an internship with Sen. McAllister at the Statehouse because she thought it would be good experience.

The alleged victim said the unwanted sexual contact continued during her internship at an apartment near the Statehouse in Montpelier. On at least one occasion, the woman testified others were in the apartment when the assault took place, but she didn't scream for help because she didn't want to wake anyone else.

Several times during the woman's testimony, McAllister could be seen subtly shaking his head in disbelief at what he was hearing.

The alleged victim is scheduled to resume her testimony Thursday.

The trial was expected to last the rest of the week, but attorneys said late Wednesday that evidentiary agreements may speed up that timeline.

Norm McAllister is facing other sex assault allegations from a different woman, who was a tenant. Those will be handled in another trial later this year. 

McAllister has filed paperwork to be on the ballot in November, seeking reelection.

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