The dispatcher will spend the next six months on house arrest after letting her boyfriend and another man into restricted areas of the sheriff's department.
June 7, 2017
White River Junction — A former Orange County dispatcher will spend the next six months on house arrest after letting her boyfriend and another man into restricted areas of the sheriff's department, where the pair allegedly took prescription medication and other property that was being stored in an evidence room.
Sonya Lowe, 26, will then remain on probation for a period of three years, which is the length of her deferred prison sentence. If she remains of good behavior, she has the ability to have her two felony convictions for aiding in the commission of a burglary expunged, Windsor County State's Attorney David Cahill said on Tuesday after Lowe's sentencing hearing. Her misdemeanor possessing stolen property conviction will remain on her record, however.
The Barre, Vt., resident pleaded guilty to the three charges in April.
She was formally sentenced on Tuesday in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, and chose not to address the court when given the opportunity by Judge Theresa DiMauro. The sheriff's department is in Chelsea and the case, which originated in Orange County, was transferred to Windsor County in its early stages to avoid a conflict of interest.Cahill on Tuesday said he felt the outcome in Lowe's case was appropriate.
"On the one hand, this is a substantial breach of trust by someone in a dispatch position at a law enforcement agency," Cahill said. "On the other hand, we have got somebody with (no) prior criminal history who engaged in a nonviolent offense, so we think we struck the right balance by having a punitive component in terms of home confinement and then the rehabilitative component in terms of the three-year deferred sentence period with probation conditions."
Leah Henderson, Lowe's public defender, said the resolution was a "fair result."
"Ms. Lowe is a young mother with no prior criminal history and deserves a chance to move on with her life without the burden of two felony convictions permanently on her record," Henderson said. "The deferred sentence and home confinement gives Ms. Lowe an opportunity to make things right with society while still being able to support her family."
Lowe's sentencing structure was part of a plea agreement. She will remain confined to her residence 24 hours a day for six months, except for running errands one day a week and for verifiable medical appoints for her son, according to the agreement.
Among her probation conditions are that she not have contact with the two men she let inside the Route 113 facility: Jeremiah Sadler, 25, and Kyle Larrabee, 24.
According to an affidavit written by Vermont State Police Sgt. Eric Albright, Lowe let the two men, and allegedly a third person, inside the facility after business hours in October and November. She also gave Sadler the keys to the drug take-back drop box and the evidence room, the affidavit states.
The case started in December, when the Orange County Sheriff's Department asked Vermont State Police to investigate criminal wrongdoing by Lowe in connection with an alleged reporting policy violation.
During that investigation, department officials found video footage of Lowe allowing her boyfriend — Sadler — and Larrabee into restricted areas. A third person also was seen on video footage, but no charges have been filed.
On at least two occasions, footage shows Sadler entering an evidence room and removing items, including a body armor vest estimated at $1,000, according to the affidavit. Footage also shows him unlocking the drug drop box in the department's lobby and removing bottles containing pills, according to the affidavit. Lowe was accused of taking pills from inside secure areas and putting them in the drop box, as well as taking a pill bottle out of the box and placing it in the pocket of her coat, the affidavit states.
Lowe was arrested the day after state police began its investigation in December; she was interviewing for a dispatcher position in Williston, Vt., at the time.
Sadler and Larrabee allegedly had dropped her off at the barracks, according to the affidavit. Suspecting they had been involved in the incidents at the sheriff's department facility, police began to search the town for them. The two men, who were located at a gas station, allegedly fled and led police on a chase that ended when their vehicle, driven by Sadler, struck state Agency of Transportation plow trucks.
Police said they found the body armor in the trunk of the vehicle, among other items allegedly taken from the facility.
Albright, who wrote the affidavit, previously told the Valley News that he didn't think any pending criminal cases would be impacted by the items that were taken out of evidence.
Sadler faces felony burglary and grand larceny charges, as well as three misdemeanor unlawful trespassing charges. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in October.
Larrabee faces three misdemeanor unlawful trespassing charges. He had a change of plea hearing scheduled for May 30, but it was canceled. As of Tuesday evening, it hadn't been rescheduled.
Sadler and Larrabee currently are incarcerated.
Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3248.