ST. ALBANS, Vt. — A woman plied three preteen boys with drugs and alcohol, sexually assaulted them and locked two in a bedroom to prevent them from escaping, telling the boys that she would hurt them if they told anyone what happened, prosecutors said Friday.
Two boys were 11; the other was 10.
Misty L. Smith of St. Albans pleaded not guilty to 17 counts including aggravated sexual assault, lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, unlawful restraint, assault, delivering drugs to minors and furnishing alcohol to minors. She was ordered held on $1 million bail.
Smith, who tried to commit suicide using pills after police removed the boys from her house Tuesday, made no statements during an arraignment Friday in Franklin Superior Court in St. Albans. Her lawyer, William Cristman, suggested that she may have competency issues.
Police were alerted to the case Tuesday when they searched for a boy who'd been seen heading to Smith's home after school.
The boys, who were friends with her son, routinely went to the Smith home after school and told police that Smith had given them marijuana, cocaine, alcohol and pills and had sexual contact with them.
On Tuesday, Smith pulled down the pants of two of the boys and duct-taped their hands behind their backs so she could perform a sex act on them, according to an affidavit by Vermont State Police Trooper William Sweeny.
According to police:
— Smith, who told the boys she would hurt them if they told anyone about what had happened, locked them in a bedroom and snapped a photo of her bare breasts with a camera she took from one. The boy deleted the picture when he saw it, according to Sweeny's affidavit.
— Smith lied to one of the boys' parents when one came to the door looking for them and lied to police when they went to the house looking. St. Albans police Sgt. Howard McGuire found the boys after seeing a shadow on the wall of the bedroom where they had been held. "She wouldn't let me use the phone to call my mom," one of the 11-year-olds said
Cristman told Superior Court Judge Gregory Rainville that he understood that one of the boys might have initiated a sexual encounter, but Rainville said that was irrelevant. Under Vermont law, minors cannot consent to sexual contact with adults.
Smith's husband was home Tuesday, but he was in another part of the house and witnesses said they weren't sure he knew what was going on, police said. He wasn't charged.
Smith, who was convicted of aggravated domestic assault for breaking her toddler son's leg in 2003, also has convictions for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to appear in court but none for sex-related charges, according to prosecutor Jim Hughes.
Police are investigating whether other children may have been victimized, Hughes said.
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