By Mike Donoghue, Vermont News First
Embattled Franklin County State’s Attorney John Lavoie, who is facing possible impeachment, has resigned.
Sources familiar with the situation told Vermont News First today that Lavoie has opted to pull the plug instead of fighting the complaints that he was involved in a pattern of harassment and discrimination directed at employees and other individuals.
Lavoie, reached by phone, confirmed the resignation and said he would have a statement later. He will be done by September 1.
Lavoie had refused to resign earlier in the wake of an independent internal investigation that found evidence of the complaints.
It will be up to Gov. Phil Scott to find a permanent replacement, however in the meantime, an interim boss will be put in place. The permanent replacement would come after the political parties are allowed to weigh in on possible candidates they would like to see in the job.
Lavoie has been the target of a closed-door investigation by a House Impeachment Committee which has been taking statements from co-workers and others about comments made by Lavoie. Multiple allegations made in February by employees at the office of the Franklin County State’s Attorney were found credible and were substantiated including additional incidents not initially disclosed in the early complaints, officials had said in May.
Lavoie said, at the time, he asked for a printed copy of the investigative report but had been refused. He said it was hard to defend himself without knowing what was claimed. Lavoie said he also asked to speak to the executive board of the Vermont State’s Attorneys but got no response.
He said he offered an apology to all the staff members during an office meeting in May when the complaints became known. There are about a dozen full and part-time employees, mostly women, in the office.
Lavoie has acknowledged he may have made comments in his career that could be considered outdated in today’s modern era.
Lavoie, who was a longtime deputy prosecutor in the office, was elected in November to succeed retiring State’s Attorney James Hughes. Lavoie began overseeing the office in late summer when Hughes departed but was not officially sworn in until February 1.
He served as a deputy prosecutor for about 35 years, including two stints at the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office for about 10 years. He also had short stops in Bennington County, the Vermont Drug Task Force, and the Vermont Office of Child Support.