Man Denies Groping after Sunday School

By Jaime Cone
Brattleboro Reformer
September 15, 2010

BRATTLEBORO -- A Rawsonville man accused of groping a minor in the basement of the Wilmington Baptist Church after Sunday school Aug. 15 pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.

Warren C. Roberts, 55, was charged with committing lewd or lascivious acts upon a person under 16 and was released on conditions following his arraignment in the Windham Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court.

According to court documents, Sgt. Matthew Murano of the Wilmington Police Department met with the alleged victim and the alleged victim's mother on Aug. 16. As a policy, the Reformer does not release the identity of alleged victims of sexual or domestic abuse or the names of family members, can be used to identify the alleged victims.

The minor told Murano that Roberts opened his arms for a hug, which he does every week after Sunday school, and he didn't let go right away.

According to court documents, Roberts touched the alleged victim's butt, then rubbed his hand across the minor's chest.

When questioned by police later that day, Roberts blurted out, "I shouldn't have done it the way I did," according to the affidavit.

According to Murano's affidavit, he did not believe that Roberts was being honest with him when he re-enacted the hug in a manner that suggested there was no wrongdoing.

"I was way out of line; I should never have," Roberts said later in the interview, according to the affidavit.

If convicted, Roberts will face up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both for lewd and lascivious conduct.

Court documents show that Roberts has no prior criminal record. As ordered by his conditions of release, he must not come in contact with the alleged victim or her mother, nor abuse or harass them in any way.

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