Bristol youth pleads innocent in sexual assault case
BRISTOL — A Bristol youth on Monday pleaded innocent in Addison County Superior Court, criminal division, to a felony charge of aggravated sexual assault on a minor younger than 13 years old, stemming from an alleged Jan. 19 incident in a Mount Abraham Union High School bathroom.
Caleb M. Bonvouloir, 18, also pleaded innocent to a misdemeanor charge of providing indecent material to a minor, for allegedly texting the victim a photo of his genitals.
It was on Jan. 19 that Mount Abraham administrators alerted Det. Ruth Whitney, leader of the Addison County Unit for Special Investigations, that a middle school student might have been assaulted by a high school student at the school earlier that day. A school official identified a boy and girl who had allegedly locked themselves in a bathroom, according to court records. Another school official reported seeing the boy (allegedly, Bonvouloir) running out of the school yelling, “You can’t prove anything. I didn’t touch her,” according to Whitney’s court affidavit.
Police said one of the alleged victim’s relatives subsequently brought the girl’s phone to Bristol Police Det. Josh Otey to check it for possible evidence, according to court records. Otey alleged finding a photo sent to the victim by Bonvouloir depicting male genitals, which Otey said “appeared to be self-images,” according to Whitney’s affidavit. The phone also allegedly contained a text conversation in which Bonvouloir allegedly described a sex act that he proposed performing on the victim the next day (Jan. 19), according to court records.
Police said they also found cell phone evidence of a message from Bonvouloir to the victim in which he allegedly told her to deny any sexual activity had taken place between them in the bathroom, according to police.
“Hey, if they ask you went in to the bathroom cuz (sic) you felt sick,” was the alleged message Bonvouloir sent to the victim after the alleged incident, according to court records. “And then I heard you throwing up so I knocked and came in and asked if you were OK.”
The victim allegedly replied to Bonvouloir that she was concerned police would have surveillance video to review for accuracy, according to Whitney’s affidavit, to which Bonvouloir allegedly replied, “They can’t prove anything but u going in then (I’m) going in.”
Officials said Bonvouloir was also apparently aware of the potential repercussions of the incident.
A conviction on the felony charge of aggravated sexual assault on a minor younger than 13 carries a penalty of “not less than 10 years” to life and a possible fine of up to $50,000, according to state statutes. A conviction on the misdemeanor charge of furnishing indecent material to a minor carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
“Its cool just I can’t go to jail or im (expletive) for life,” Bonvouloir allegedly messaged the victim, according to court records.
Police said they received into evidence the victim’s journal, which included an account of the alleged sexual encounter with Bonvouloir, according to Whitney’s affidavit. Whitney interviewed the victim, who provided her account of the alleged incident and added “at no time did she feel forced or pressured to have sex,” according to court records.
Otey interviewed Bonvouloir, who allegedly acknowledged the sexual encounter.
“(Bonvouloir) said that they planned it the day before and he knew she was too young,” court records state.
The Independent asked Whitney her thoughts on Mount Abe’s internal security/safety system as it relates to potential inappropriate activities in the bathrooms. In an emailed response, Whitney noted, “The school has video cameras in place that were operational. The incident occurred after the regular school day. It was later in the day during a basketball game. I think the school has done a remarkable job.”
Bristol Police Chief Kevin Gibbs said the Mount Abe bathroom in question “has a lock on it because it is a single-use bathroom. Certain staff members have been provided a means with which to enter the bathroom even if it is locked. I think other steps have been taken by staff to ensure persons aren’t in areas they are not supposed to be.”
Gibbs added he has reached out to the Mount Abe Principal Jessica Barewicz and Addison Northeast Superintendent Patrick Reen to meet with them, and other key staff, “to look at internal security of the building.”
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