The New Hampshire woman who was kidnapped from the Mall of New Hampshire with her four-year-old son and then allegedly raped by a man who had escaped a Vermont treatment facility is now suing the state of Vermont and that treatment center.
That victim is also speaking out for the first time and identifying herself, saying she plans to do everything she can to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else.
“Celia and her son did not choose this result, they did not choose to be in this situation,” said attorney Anthony Carr who represents Celia Roessler.
U.S. & World
On the afternoon of Jan. 5, 2019, Roessler was buckling her son into his car seat in the parking lot at the Mall of New Hampshire. According to a recently filed lawsuit, Roessler says she was “violently elbowed,” pushed into the passenger seat of her car, and abducted with her son by Everett Simpson.
Simpson is a convicted criminal who had, days earlier, escaped from a Vermont treatment facility called Valley Vista.
After he allegedly raped Roessler in front of her little boy at a Vermont motel, Simpson took off and was eventually captured in Pennsylvania.
In a statement, Roessler writes, in part, “The past couple months have not been easy, but the most important thing is we made it out alive, and my son was not physically harmed.”
Roessler's attorney spoke on her behalf Wednesday.
“This would not have happened but for the gross negligence of both Vermont and Valley Vista,” Carr said.
Roessler is now suing the State of Vermont and Valley Vista, claiming the treatment center failed to “immediately” notify police when Simpson escaped and alleging that the state failed to properly alert the public that a dangerous criminal was on the loose.
The State of Vermont has publicly admitted to breaching its duties and even suspended a state trooper.
In response to the lawsuit, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan writes, in part, “Our sympathy goes out to the Plaintiff and her family, who were victims of a heinous crime... Once we have had an opportunity to evaluate the claims, we will reach out to the Plaintiff’s counsel."
Roessler says she was raised to make the best of every situation, and that’s exactly what she plans to do here.
“Celia is willing to come forward and be that strong person and put a face to this, and make sure that she gets justice, but also that it never happens again,” Carr said.
In Roessler’s statement, she also says she’s speaking out now because she has “nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of.”