Vermont officials have agreed to pay $400,000 to settle claims by a woman and her son that state police should have done more to prevent their kidnapping and assault by a man who walked away from a court-ordered drug treatment program.
The victims were kidnapped Jan. 4 in the parking lot of a Manchester, New Hampshire, mall and driven into Vermont, where the man, Everett Simpson, rented a hotel room in White River Junction. Authorities say the Simpson then raped the woman in front of the five-year-old boy.
Simpson then fled to Pennsylvania where he was apprehended two days later after he crashed a stolen car while fleeing police.
In the immediate wake of the incident, police said they had not been notified that Simpson had left Valley Vista Rehabilitation Center in Bradford, where he had been ordered to report by a judge in another case.
After acknowledging that troopers had, in fact, been told the night before the alleged kidnapping that Simpson was missing, police said, “additional steps” should have been taken, including seeking an arrest warrant immediately; issuing a “be on the lookout” alert sooner; and notifying the public about Simpson’s escape from Valley Vista.
An investigation led to a six-day suspension of a trooper.
The lawsuit by the woman and her son was filed March. The Department of Public Safety says the settlement was reached by mediation in August and approved by a judge Thursday. Under the terms, the woman will receive $300,000 and her son will receive $100,000.
Police and other state officials do not have to admit wrongdoing