Vermont prosecutors have asked that the Legislature consider impeachment proceedings against a county prosecutor after an investigation found that he harassed and discriminated against employees.
An independent investigation found that multiple allegations employees made about Franklin County State's Attorney John Lavoie were credible and substantiated, the Vermont Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs' executive director said at a Statehouse press conference on Tuesday.
VERMONT STATE TROOPERS RESIGN OVER ALLEGED COMMENTS MADE DURING OFF-DUTY GAMING SESSIONS
There is credible evidence that Lavoie mistreated employees through repeated discriminatory comments and actions including derogatory references to national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and body composition, the department said in a statement.
"Further, at least two instances of unwanted physical contact, not of a sexual nature, were substantiated," the department said.
Lavoie has worked in the office for years and was elected state’s attorney in November. The department became aware of the allegations in March and started an investigation. Its executive committee has asked Lavoie to resign twice but he has refused, the department said.
VERMONT SHERIFF TAKES OFFICE WHILE FACING TWO INVESTIGATIONS
After the press conference, which Lavoie attended, he acknowledged to reporters some inappropriate humor but denied any unwanted physical contact or racist comments. He said he apologized to staff and others and doesn't think his actions warrant him stepping down.
"If I thought that anyone found my language or comments offensive, I would have stopped and apologized," said Lavoie.
"I guess I have to apologize for now suddenly being out of step with the times," he said.