ST. JOHNSBURY -- Jeffrey Plourde, 19, of Lyndonville, settled seven charges against him stemming from his alleged sexual assault on a former girlfriend.
Through his attorney, David Sleigh, Plourde had five charges dismissed by State's Attorney Robert Butterfield in Caledonia District Court Monday morning.
A sixth charge was amended and only the seventh charge, a misdemeanor, remained intact.
Plourde's alleged accomplice in the sexual assault, Christopher Stark, 22, Kirby, awaits trial on sexual assault charges connected to the alleged assault on Plourde's girlfriend.
During Monday morning's change of plea, Plourde pleaded no contest to a felony charge of inciting another to commit a felony. The inciting a felony charge was amended from an original charge of sexual assault - no consent. He also pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic assault.
Plourde is currently serving 18 months on a 5- to 10-year sentence after his conviction on Jan. 4 of charges of aggravated cruelty to an animal, burglary, possession of stolen property and petty larceny.
He was sentenced Monday to 2 to 4 years on the new charges, all suspended except for 90 days to be served in prison on the charge of inciting codefendant Stark to commit a felony. On the domestic assault charge, Plourde was sentenced to 60 to 90 days, which will be served concurrent to the sentence imposed on the inciting charge.
The new sentences handed down Monday will be served consecutively to the existing sentence Plourde is serving in the Northeast Regional Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury.
Once Plourde finishes serving his 18-month sentence, he will begin serving the 90-day sentence given to him by Judge Kathleen Manley on Monday. Plourde must also complete a 26-week batterer's intervention program as part of his sentence.
Chief Harris' Affidavit
According to the affidavit of Lyndonville Police Chief Jack Harris, on Jan. 5, Harris learned of an alleged sexual assault that took place on Jan. 1 and 2 at Plourde's home in Lyndonville. The victim, a 17-year-old girl, was Plourde's girlfriend at the time.
According to Harris' affidavit, the girl came to stay at Plourde's home for the weekend. She told Harris that while she was at the home, both Stark and Plourde repeatedly engaged in non-consensual sexual acts with her and that Plourde engaged in lewd and lascivious conduct with her.
Following her complaint to police, state police set up a tape-recorded phone conversation between the victim and Plourde. Plourde made incriminating comments to her during the taped conversation.
During the change of plea hearing, Butterfield told Judge Manley that as a result of taking the deposition of the victim under oath, the witness had changed her position, and several acts previously described by the victim as non-consensual had now been recharacterized as consensual.
Butterfield said the new charges, that Plourde incited Stark to sexually assault the victim and that Plourde committed domestic assault by slapping his girlfriend in the face and punching her in the chest, more accurately characterized the events.
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