Judge agreed to release suspect into the custody of his parents
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A college student from South Royalton is facing a felony charge that carries a mandatory minimum of three years in jail and a potential maximum of up to life, if he were to be convicted, after a woman his age told police she passed out at his home earlier this month and woke to find him allegedly taking advantage of her.
Hunter Brock, 21, pleaded innocent Friday afternoon to a single count of sexual assault with no consent before he was released from the courthouse in downtown White River Junction into the custody of his mother with strict orders not to contact his accuser and not to travel outside Windsor or Orange counties while his case is pending.
Given the severity of the charge, Windsor County Deputy State's Attorney Ward Goodenough had asked Judge Timothy Tomasi to hold Brock without bail but Brock's defense attorney, Audrey Smith, pointed to his lifelong ties to the area and the fact that Brock had voluntarily gone to the state police barracks in Royalton to be interviewed by troopers and that he had appeared on his own an hour early for Friday's arraignment as signs that he is not a flight risk.
In an affidavit filed with the court, Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Christopher Blais wrote that the woman making the complaint told investigators that she and another male friend of hers had joined Brock at the Crossroads Bar in Royalton, where Brock works part-time, on a recent Saturday evening after his shift was over and had a few drinks with him before the trio walked back to Brock's home nearby to "sober off."
The woman later told police that the three of them were in Brock's bedroom when he chastised her and her other friend for kissing and told them to knock it off. The woman said that a short time later the male friend left for the evening and she fell asleep "fully clothed."
At some point during the early morning hours, the woman told police, she awoke to find herself being assaulted with Brock on top of her and she told him to stop, which she said he did at that point.
The woman left the house at around 4:30 a.m. and then made a distraught phone call to a female friend who later confirmed receiving that call to investigators.
The putative victim contacted police three days later and an investigation was begun which included an examination at a hospital and a series of recorded phone and Facebook conversations between Brock, the woman and her male friend that were overseen and recorded by police, according to the affidavit.
Detective Blais wrote that during the recorded conversations and in a subsequent interview at the barracks, Brock seemed to confirm that the encounter had taken place but he reportedly gave slightly differing accounts, suggesting at times that the woman had initiated the encounter and at other times expressing his confusion as to exactly why she was upset in the days that followed.
Detective Blais wrote that during a phone conversation between the woman and Brock, which Brock did not realize was being recorded by police, Brock allegedly explained to her "I know it's wrong, I know it's wrong now. I didn't know that I was taking advantage of you, now that I know I'm really sorry."
The detective said that Brock went on to apologize to the woman "several times" during the subsequent recording.
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