Vermont State Senator Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Charges

Norman McAllister, who's in his second two-year Senate term representing Franklin County, was arraigned Friday

A Vermont state senator has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and prohibited acts.

Norman McAllister entered the plea Friday morning. His lawyer didn't object to the $20,000 bail.

Prosecutors say the charges involve three victims.

The 63-year-old McAllister is in his second two-year Senate term representing Franklin County. He was arrested Thursday outside the statehouse.

He said nothing after the brief appearance but his lawyer, Brooks McArthur, says McAllister has a different version of events.

McAllister is a successful Franklin County dairy farmer and one of nine Republicans in the 30-member Senate. He has sponsored legislation to require recipients of public assistance to undergo drug testing, a measure given little chance of passage in the current Legislature.

Police had sought a human trafficking charge, but prosecutors declined.

Democratic Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, of Windsor, and Republican Leader Joe Benning, of Caledonia, said Thursday evening they didn't wish to comment on his arrest.

McAllister served four terms in the House in the last decade before election to the Senate. He grew up in the southeastern Vermont town of Windsor, got a degree in agriculture management from Vermont Technical College and moved to Highgate, in Vermont's far northwest corner, while in his 20s.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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