A Vermont State Police trooper is back on the job after he was suspended with pay last week amid an internal affairs investigation into how police handled a man later accused of kidnapping and sexual assault.
Trooper Sean Brennan of the St. Johnsbury barracks returned to work Tuesday, according to a Vermont State Police spokesman.
Brennan was suspended last week, the same day VSP started an internal probe into whether the agency could have done more to investigate Everett Simpson, and respond sooner or more effectively to a report he was on the loose.
Simpson is the Vermont man suspected of sneaking out of court-approved drug rehab, traveling to Manchester, New Hampshire, and carjacking a woman and her child at random.
Simpson then allegedly forced the victims to go back to Vermont with him, where he's accused of sexually assaulting the woman in front of the child.
Simpson was caught in Pennsylvania and is in federal custody awaiting charges in Vermont.
The probe is looking at whether police could have done more immediately following the initial call from the drug rehab center alerting them that Simpson left the facility in violation of court conditions, necn has learned.
Last week, when necn first reported on the suspension and internal affairs investigation, former U.S. Attorney for Vermont Jerry O'Neill noted the existence of an internal affairs probe does not mean police could have prevented the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault.
He described a tight timeline and many unknowns — such as the suspected use of a stolen vehicle — as factors working against the police investigation into Simpson's departure from drug rehab.
"It doesn't mean they're at fault," O'Neill said last week of the Vermont State Police, adding that the investigation is likely aimed at whether anything could have possibly been done differently that could have helped them locate the suspect sooner.
While Brennan has been returned to full duty, a state police spokesman said the internal affairs investigation is ongoing. No other information about the suspension or investigation was provided.