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Vt. judge embroiled in controversy

2d man accused of assaulting girl

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The girl who was the victim in a child sex abuse case in which the perpetrator got a minimum sentence of 60 days also was abused by a second man, authorities have alleged.

That revelation is the latest twist in a controversy surrounding Judge Edward Cashman's sentencing of Mark Hulett, 34, of Williston, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the girl from the age of 6 to when she was 10.

Derek Kimball, 33, of Hinesburg, whom authorities describe as a friend of Hulett's, was arrested in October and is charged with sexual assault on a victim less than 10 years of age, and lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. He was later released on $25,000 bond and a series of conditions, including that he not contact the victim or any girls under the age of 16. He could face up to life in prison if convicted. Kimball's case is being handled by Judge Michael Kupersmith.

Cashman sentenced Hulett on Jan. 4 to 60 days to 10 years, along with two other suspended sentences. At the sentencing hearing, the judge said state Corrections Department officials had told him that Hulett would not receive sex-offender treatment while in prison because he was deemed a low risk to re-offend.

The judge said he worried that without treatment, Hulett would emerge from prison more likely to commit new crimes. He imposed a long list of stringent conditions on when and how Hulett could be released, including that he get sex-offender treatment, setting the stage potentially for a life sentence.

Conservative talk-radio and cable television personalities around the country have seized on the 60-day minimum sentence in recent days. Some Vermont newspapers have called in editorials for Cashman to step down or to be removed from the bench.

The media coverage has been criticized by some who have studied the case. Republican Representative Michael Kainen, a lawyer and the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee in the Vermont House, said Friday, ''If it were accurately reported, I think there would have been a little less furor."

That comment came two days after Human Services Secretary Michael Smith said the Corrections Department would shift gears and offer Hulett sex offender treatment while in prison. That prompted prosecutors on Friday to file court papers asking Cashman to reconsider the sentence.

Court papers in Kimball's case say the girl told investigators that both Kimball and Hulett had sexually assaulted her in a number of separate incidents.

Detectives met with Kimball at his job at the Chittenden Solid Waste District in South Burlington on Oct. 7, according to court papers. During the interview, Kimball acknowledged the abuse and was arrested, according to the detectives' accounts in the court affidavit.

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