Bristol man pleads innocent to sexual assault
BRISTOL — A 24-year-old Bristol man has been charged with sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman at a party at his parents’ home in June.
Tyler Ford pleaded innocent to the sexual assault charge in Addison Superior Court, Criminal Division, on Aug. 7.
The alleged sexual assault took place in the early morning hours of June 25, at a party at Ford’s family home on Lower Notch Road in Bristol. Ford lives with his parents, Suzanne and Glenn Cota.
After what Vermont State Police called, in an Aug. 2 press release, a “thorough investigation” by state police detectives, authorities charged Ford. They also charged his parents, Suzanne Cota, 54, and Glenn Cota, 53, with enabling consumption of alcohol by individuals under the legal drinking age of 21. The Cotas are scheduled to answer the charges in the same court on Sep. 11.
The essence of the accusation, as spelled out in an affidavit by VSP Det. Trooper Craig Hansen, is that the alleged victim became extremely intoxicated at the party, passed out and woke up to find Tyler Ford with “his hands all over her body,” penetrating her with his penis. The young woman then became very upset and was taken from the party to Rutland Regional Medical Center for a sexual assault examination and hospital personnel contacted state police.
While accounts vary amongst the various statements gathered by VSP detectives, the basic events are sketched as follows. The Cotas’ party began early in the evening of Saturday, June 24, and was attended by college-age and older adults. A variety of alcoholic drinks were served, and the host cautioned those underage not to drink the alcohol, according to the affidavit. The alleged victim was invited by a family member and arrived sometime around 7 p.m. According to the alleged victim’s statement and a number of other witness statements, she began to drink, continued to drink for several hours and became “extremely intoxicated.” A friend of the woman told police that she “consumed multiple drinks of multiple kinds of alcohol.”
At around 9:30 p.m., she jumped into the Cotas’ pool and swam around without her clothes on. This upset the hosts and a friend took the drunken woman to a bedroom, where she apparently fell asleep, vomited onto the floor, but was unaware she had vomited.
By around 11:30 the alleged victim rejoined the party and according to some accounts appeared “sobered up a bit” and then went back to the bedroom to lie down.
Reports differ as to how the alleged victim got to be with Tyler Ford in his downstairs bedroom. The woman herself reported that Ford himself moved her from the livingroom couch to his room downstairs and that she then passed out. Ford told police that the two began kissing in the laundry room and that she went with him willingly to his room.
One person at the party stated that she checked in on the alleged victim while she was downstairs in Ford’s room and that the alleged victim signaled that she was OK. Another friend said that when she heard that the alleged victim was in Ford’s room she went immediately to check on her. The second friend said she found the door locked, banged on it, and after “a little while” Ford came to the door in only his boxer shorts. According to this friend, he first claimed that the victim was asleep and that he had been sleeping. He later told VSP detectives that the two were in his bed together and “snuggled” consensually but that he did not penetrate her.
This friend told police that said she found the alleged victim “lying face down in the twin bed with her dress hiked up over her butt.” When the friend approached, the alleged victim began “sobbing and hyperventilating” and ran out of the room. The friend followed and found her continuing to sob, rock back and forth and hyperventilate (other witnesses described it as a stress-induced asthma attack).
This friend took the alleged victim to Rutland Regional Medical Center at around 1:20 a.m. At 3:07 a.m., hospital personnel reported to police that the victim was at the hospital and that she reported being raped.
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