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Sex offender ordered to stay away from county women

MIDDLEBURY — A two-judge panel has ordered convicted sex offender Richard Laws, 49, to stay away from two Addison County women for at least the next 12 months.
Acting Family Court Judge Barry Peterson and Assistant Judge Irene Poole heard statements from the two women during separate hearings on Wednesday about their desire to have no contact with Laws, who was released from prison last Thursday.
He had completed serving a 23-year sentence for the rape and brutal beating of a woman in Waitsfield in 1992.
Laws did not attend either hearing this week. Peterson noted that he had been served with notices for both hearings.
One woman seeking the court order is the former girlfriend of Laws at the time of the attack on another woman in Waitsfield. The second woman seeking court protection is the 22-year-old daughter of the woman who also obtained the court order. She was born four months after Laws was arrested and he is listed in court papers as her father.
The mother and daughter had about a dozen supporters attend the court hearings.
The orders signed by Peterson and Poole note that Laws has placed both women in fear of imminent serious physical harm. They also ordered him not to talk to, threaten or contact either woman, including through a third party.
The judges also ordered Laws stay at least 300 feet away from both women. The court noted Laws has an extremely violent criminal record.
Peterson told both women in open court that their protection orders can be extended if they apply before they expire in April 2016.
Laws is a transient and it is unknown where he is living.
Editor’s note: This story was provided to the Independent as a courtesy by the reporter.

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