Vermont doles out light sentence for child pornography

by Michael Volpe - Jul 1, 2015

Vermont is giving a signal of approval by handing out light sentences for child pornography

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2015 – A recent slap-on-the wrist sentence for possession of child pornography in Vermont is raising serious questions about that state’s tolerance for the crime.

A former Vermont Sheriff’s Deputy received a mere month in jail for multiple counts of possession of child pornography. The Vermont Attorney General’s Office told Crime Magazine it normally requests this sentence for similar cases.

Nick Moen is a former Deputy with the Grand Isle, Vermont County Sheriff’s Office who was arrested in January 2015 and charged with three counts of possession of child pornography. On May 2, 2015, Judge Alison Arms accepted a plea worked out between the defense and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. Under the plea, Moen agreed to plead guilty to three felony counts of promoting a recording of sexual conduct in exchange for a sentence of 3-12 years.

However, all but thirty days were suspended. John Treadwell, the Chief of the Criminal Division for the Vermont Attorney General, told CDN that Moen’s plea was in line with other deals on similar crimes.

According to Mr. Treadwell: On January 6, 2015, Mr. Moen pleaded guilty to three felony counts of promoting a recording of sexual conduct in violation of 13 V.S.A. § 2824. On May 12, 2015, the court imposed a three to 12 year sentence, all suspended except for 30 days to serve with standard conditions of probation and special sex offender conditions as recommended by the Department of Corrections. The resolution of the Moen matter was consistent with the resolution of similar matters by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.

The Vermont Court Administrator’s Office declined to make Judge Arms available for an interview and directed all calls to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. The one-month sentence appears particularly lenient given the details of Moen’s case. An affidavit by the arresting officer, Matthew Raymon, stated, “Moen’s files included a nine year old girl giving her father ‘a Super bj’ and toddler sex abuse.” The affidavit also stated that Raymond found evidence on Moen’s computer that Moen had queried search engines with the term “bestiality.”

Lori Handrahan runs the site Data 4 Justice, which tracks child molesters, and initially tipped of CDN to the unusually light sentence for Moen. She said that those who approved the sentence are worthy of investigation. “When a [former] police officer trading in brutal images and videos of small children being raped is given only 30 days in jail, that is a red flag of a corrupt judicial system. The judge who gave this sentence should, herself, be investigated.”