Chester teen charged with two counts of sexual assault

By Cynthia Prairie and Shawn Cunningham
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC


Following a monthlong investigation, Chester and Ludlow Police have charged an 18-year-old Chester man with two counts of sexual assault in incidents that occurred in October 2016 in Ludlow and in May 2017 in Chester to two separate victims. All are students at Green Mountain Union High.

Ryan Stocker was arrested and charged on Monday at the Chester Police office and arraigned Tuesday in Windsor County Criminal Court in White River Junction, where he plead not guilty to both charges.

Ryan Stocker, left, pleads not guilty to two counts of sexual assault. Photo by Shawn Cunningham

During the arraignment, State’s Attorney Heidi Remick told Judge Theresa DiMauro that “the evidence of guilt is great” and asked that Stocker be held without bail since each charge carries a possible life sentence. Remick noted that Stocker has admitted to having sex with the two young women but said it was consensual.

Public defender Robert Lees said that Stocker was trying to observe all of the conditions of release. He added that Stocker was born in Springfield and has a number of family members in the area including his father and grandparents in Chester and grandparents in Ludlow. Several of Stocker’s relatives were in the courtroom.

Lees told the court that Stocker is about to graduate from Green Mountain Union High School, but he would not be attending the ceremony, and that he has two final exams remaining, which he will take off school premises. He also said that Stocker has been accepted to Franklin Pierce University.

Lees said Stocker was open to any other conditions set by the court.

“These are obviously very serious charges which carry the potential sentence of life in prison,” said Judge  DiMauro, “and the presumption is against release.” Under Vermont statutes, sexual assault is a felony and each count carries a minimum sentence of three years in prison with a maximum of life. In addition the court may levy a fine of up to $25,000 for each count.

But DiMauro noted that Stocker had no previous criminal history and said, given his age, she was reluctant to hold him without bail.

“With other charges coming,” said DiMauro, “that might change.” She also noted that his conditions of release may be altered by additional charges. Currently, Stocker is required to stay at his father’s home 24 hours a day, seven days a week except for court dates, meetings with his attorney, doctor visits and emergency medical treatment. Among the numerous conditions was no alcohol, no contact with the victims and no contact with females under 18.

According to the charging documents, in both incidents the victims were at someone else’s home, they were provided alcohol and both got sick.

The Chester victim stated that at the time of the encounter, she did not feel that she was in control of herself or the situation and could not stop what was happening. While the Chester victim could remember some details of what happened, she said others were unclear. She also told police that she and Stocker had been close friends for years, but had never been in an intimate relationship.

In her statement to police, the Ludlow victim, who was 16 at the time of the incident, said she drank about three beers but suddenly felt very dizzy and vomited “all over herself and the couch.” She also “experienced some visual disturbances … then was extremely sleepy.” She told police that someone helped her into another room and was “laid on a mattress.” She told police she fell asleep clothed and awoke the next morning “disoriented and confused,”  without her pants on and next to Stocker, who was “cuddling” her.  When she told him to get off her and asked him what was going on, she said he replied, “You don’t remember?” and shortly thereafter said, “we had sex.”

On Monday, Chester Det. Andrew Brothers told The Telegraph that Stocker has been cooperative. “He’s been extremely helpful. We asked him to come in to talk with us and he’s never blown it off,” said Brothers. “He’s been very respectful and cooperative.”

The cases came to light when the mother of the Chester victim approached the Green Mountain School Board on Thursday June 8 and asked what the high school was doing to educate students about sexual assault and protect them from it. Neither incident occurred in the school nor did they occur at school-sponsored events.

In an interview Monday, June 12, the mother said that her daughter said the alleged perpetrator provided some of the alcohol at the Saturday, May 6 party where her daughter was assaulted.  Her daughter reported the assault to the school on Monday, May 8 and the Chester Police got involved soon after. On May 11, the Chester victim told police that she had spoken with a younger friend who said that a similar incident in which Stocker had had sex with her when she was under the influence.

“From my perspective,” said Det. Brothers on Monday, “the issue of underage alcohol consumption is as big an issue as the opiate problem.” He noted that kids are drinking at a younger age.

At the June 8 school board meeting, board chair Alison DesLauriers said to Principal Tom Ferenc and Two Rivers Superintendent Meg Powden,  “At some point we will be asking you the plan for providing this kind of prevention education.” 

A message left on Ferenc’s work phone Tuesday seeking more information was not returned as of publication time.

Stocker is scheduled to make pretrial court appearances in September and November with a jury draw scheduled for the fall of this year.

As the investigation continues, police from both Chester and Ludlow are asking that anyone with information to contact them at 875-2035 and 228-4411, respectively.

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  1. Kathy says:

    Bmoc802 — You’re suggesting the article is biased against the alleged rapist and you’ve attempted to discredit one of the two victims because she admitted to having ‘drank *about* three beers.’

    You elaborate that “three beers is a lot for a 16 year-old girl” but the article fails to provide the length of time in which it was consumed. Do you know her height and weight plus length of time to establish how this was metabolized?

    A rape victim has been violated at the most personal level and bears the psychological damage long after the actual crime. What she wore, drank, where she was — has nothing to do with the fact that a male aggressor was hell bent on using her body — without consent — for his personal satisfaction, to intimidate or humiliate her, to damage her.

    There are many emotions to process such as shame and fear. Rape victims don’t jump up, tidy themselves up and run out the door seeking date rape drug tests. Young girls are even less cognizant of the health care and legal aspects. Going back to the victim who consumed beer — the rapist had been a friend. Did you know that most rape victims know their attacker? More often than not, the rapist is a known acquaintance, friend or family member.

    Did you know that rape is a widely unreported crime? Date rape is very real and only a small portion are reported. It is rampant on college campuses — much like the one the alleged rapist was to attend.

    You go on to state that Trevor’s comment [i]he may not feel he has done anything wrong [/i] suggests the alleged rapist is a sociopath. You’re twisting what Trevor wrote. Given the ‘boys will be boys’ attitude prevalent in society, the accused might just believe his actions were not egregious. Wouldn’t it behoove the alleged rapist to be respectful, follow any requests and abide by conditions put forth by the court? Innocent or guilty, it’s in the accused’s best interest.

    I can only guess we won’t hear the alleged rapist’s side until trial. According to the State’s Attorney Remick, “The evidence of guilt is great.” The defense might have instructed their client to not say anything.

  2. Bmoc802 says:

    Trevor, by your comment it sounds like you are implying two things.

    First, that the accused is using substances other than the aforementioned alcohol to subdue the accusers, and while yes, that is suggested by the accuser in this article, there is no proof of that, she’s already admitted to drinking three beers, which is a lot for a 16-year-old girl, enough to induce all the side effects she’s referenced. If we’re talking date rape drugs, why was a urine test not performed the day she came forward? Rohypnol stays in the system for 72 hours, and small traces of GHB can remain for up to 48 hours.

    Second, to say he feels he has not done anything wrong and had no remorse is to call this kid a sociopath essentially. Typically sociopaths are EXTREMELY awkward in social situations, and it sounds like this kid was friendly with both accusers and a relatively popular guy. So I’m not buying that he’s a sociopath and feels no remorse.

    I’m not taking sides, and this is a horrendous situation for a small community such as Chester. However, what I AM saying is this. The article is one-sided and shows bias. As I stated before, Chester is a small community, and although I’m not from there, I’d be willing to bet a hefty sum that the author of this article has direct contact with at least one of the accusers if not both. I’m curious to see how the coverage continues; I hope there is a follow-up article where we hear more of what the accused is saying or more about what his defense is.

    Lastly, if the defendant is indeed guilty, but there is not enough evidence to convict him. The burden lies solely on the school. If a student comes forward with an accusation of rape by another student, why the police were not immediately called is beyond me.

  3. Trevor says:

    The fact that he’s “helpful” and “cooperative” doesn’t mean he has nothing to hide. He may not feel like he’s done anything wrong. And the problem here doesn’t sound like underage drinking… It sounds like date rape drugs.

  4. Bmoc802 says:

    I would love to hear what the boy is saying, this seems like a very one-sided article, not necessarily biased, just one-sided, all we have is that he is cooperating fully with the authorities, which certainly shows he feels he has nothing to hide. What is his defense? Do the two victims know each other?