Colchester Police Dispatcher Facing Criminal Charges

COLCHESTER, Vt. - A longtime Colchester police dispatcher is facing criminal charges for soliciting a prostitute, and providing her with confidential police information, authorities said Wednesday.

Vermont State Police say Earl Benway, 41, of Milton, was served a citation Wednesday for two charges: engaging in a prohibited act and obstruction of justice.

Police say Benway paid to have a woman perform a sexual act in June and gave her information about an on-going federal law enforcement investigation.

In a written statement on Wednesday, Colchester Police Chief Jennifer Morrison said she was notified by Burlington police on September 13 about a “potential personnel matter,” and immediately ordered an internal affairs investigation.

Morrison said an investigator began interviewing people that night.

Following an initial briefing with the investigator, Morrison said she asked Vermont State Police to begin a separate, criminal investigation.

Benway was placed on paid-administrative leave September 15. By Sept. 21 Benway was put on unpaid leave and Morrison recommended his firing.

The next day Town Manager Dawn Francis dismissed Benway, who declined an offer for a hearing.

“The facts and circumstances of the situation were fairly straight forward, and we were able to complete our internal investigation quickly,” Morrison said in a written statement.

Morrison said Benway had worked for the Town of Colchester since March 2001.

Benway is due in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington on October 10. It's unknown if he has a lawyer.

Morrison said no other Colchester employees have been implicated in the investigation.

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