Drugs abuse tied to sex crimes, assault cases
ADDISON COUNTY — As area counselors, police and health care professionals see a drug problem that they said is getting worse (see story) some authorities said the drug problem is bringing a different kind of misery and tragedy to the county.
Vermont State Police Det. Cpl. Chris Campbell and Det. Sgt. Ruth Whitney, leader of the Addison County Unit for Special Investigations, said they are alarmed at the increasing role prescription drugs are playing in sex crimes involving young victims.
Example: Kimberly S. Camp-Lizotte, 42, of Bristol and Robert C. Lizotte, 31, of Middlebury pleaded innocent on Dec. 31, 2013, in Addison County Superior Court (criminal division) to charges of sexual assault and dispensing a regulated drug to a minor in connection with alleged behavior last spring and summer at a Bristol home.
A court affidavit filed by Det. Campbell includes allegations that Camp-Lizotte provided a teen girl and teen boy with such prescription drugs as Percocet, Vicodin and Lyrica that were snorted or taken orally. On four or five occasions, the alleged drug consumption was followed by group sex between the two teens and Camp-Lizotte, according to the affidavit.
Investigators also allege that Camp-Lizotte’s brother, Robert C. Lizotte, had participated in sexual activity with the teen girl, whom police interviewed while she was receiving care at a residential drug treatment facility.
Camp-Lizotte was ordered held for lack of $50,000 bail on two felony counts of sexual assault and two felony counts of dispensing a regulated drug to a minor.
Robert C. Lizotte was released on conditions on one felony count each of sexual assault and dispensing a regulated drug to a minor.
While the aforementioned case does not include allegations of a swap of drugs for sex, it paints what Campbell and Whitney said is an unfortunate, familiar picture.
“It sets up a situation of, ‘We’re all going to party together; I’m going to supply the drugs; we’re all going to party together,’ and that then creates an environment where bad decisions are made on both sides,” Campbell said. “You wind up arresting adults in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s for aggravated sexual assault, and it started out as a drug crime. And now they are looking at potential lifetime felonies because of the aggravated sexual assault component.”
Campbell said he was involved in another recent case in which two adult offenders were facing 14 different charges relating to drugs and sexual assault on a minor. Whitney spoke of a case involving two women “partying” and having intimate relations with as many as four young boys.
Campbell has also investigated cases involving a trade of drugs for sexual favors and has also seen tragic cases of local teens running away from their homes and becoming involved in prostitution in urban areas both inside and outside of the state. Of the roughly 10 new sex assault cases Campbell gets each month involving minors, around six of them involve drugs, he said.
Whitney noted a lot of the victims are 16, 17 or 18, which places them either at — or close to — an age at which they can legally make many of their own decisions. Some do not qualify for the state’s safety net of social services.
“They are going to ‘age-out’ in a year or so,” Whitney said. “You can put them in the front door (of their homes) and they are going to go out the back door. It takes time to deal with the addiction problem and the mental health issues. There’s no hook to keep them engaged in treatment.”
And in many cases, according to Campbell, these are children whose parents are dealing with addiction problems, so the cycle repeats itself in a new generation.
Campbell recalled asking one young girl how she had heard of the treatment facility in which she had been placed.
“She said, ‘My mom was here, and when I get out, it’ll be time for her to come back,’” Campbell said.
“It’s a cautionary tale for parents,” Addison County Deputy State’s Attorney Dennis Wygmans said. Wygmans handles most of the office’s sexual and domestic assault cases that are tried in adult court.
“We have seen a major uptick in domestic assault cases this year, some of which involve drug abuse.”
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