Northfield town leader, officer accused of soliciting prostitution
Apart-time law enforcement officer who works full time as an EMT and also serves on the Northfield Selectboard has been cited into court on charges of obstructing justice and solicitation of prostitution.
Lynn Doney, 57, of Northfield, is scheduled to appear for an arraignment on the charges Thursday in Chittenden County Superior criminal court, according to Shelburne Police.
A phone number listed for Doney had been disconnected on Tuesday. An email message sent to Doney through his Northfield Selectboard member account was not returned by late Tuesday afternoon.
Police say the investigation began when a local motel manager reported “suspicious activity” to the Shelburne Police Department. That local motel has since been identified as Harbor Place, a facility that provides temporary emergency shelter and services to those in need.
Police said as part of their investigation a man, who they did not name, had been paid to perform sex acts in Shelburne and Barre.
Working with Barre City Police and the state’s attorney’s offices in Chittenden and Washington counties, Shelburne Police say Doney was charged with obstruction of justice and solicitation of prostitution.
Police say the investigation is continuing and additional arrests are possible.
Shelburne Police did not release additional details. An affidavit expected to be filed in support of the charges had not yet been submitted to the court as of Tuesday.
If probable cause is found by the judge, that affidavit becomes public and is expected to provide additional details into the investigation.
Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George said Tuesday afternoon that she was still awaiting paperwork from law enforcement officers prior to making that filing in court.
Carl Rogers, Barre Town manager, said Tuesday that Doney worked full time with the Barre Town Emergency Medical Services Department and part time with the town’s police department.
Rogers said Doney has been placed on paid administrative leave from the EMS job. And because he worked on a per diem basis in the police department, Rogers said, “We’re just not calling him to do any work until this gets sorted out.”
Doney had been out of work in Barre Town since February after suffering an on-the-job injury, Rogers said. He had been slated to return to work with the EMS starting Tuesday.
Washington County Sheriff W. Samuel Hill said Doney worked part time for the department for more than two decades. Hill said Doney, who worked providing court security and traffic control, was placed on unpaid administrative leave over the weekend in light of his arrest on criminal charges.
Hill added that Doney had not worked for the department since suffering that work-related injury while working for Barre EMS.
Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault issued a statement this week saying that his office is not prosecuting any cases where Doney was the investigating officer and, therefore, his arrest wouldn’t have an effect on any pending matters.
Asked if any charges were expected to be brought against Doney in Washington County, Thibault replied, “We have not identified anything that would give rise to a criminal charge under the jurisdiction of Washington County.”
In a release providing information about Doney’s arrest, Shelburne Police also wrote, ”Prostitution is not a victimless crime. It is often linked to exploitation, drug abuse, and human trafficking. The Shelburne Police Department intends to continue to work with the community, including local hotels, to combat prostitution and related crimes.”
If convicted of both offenses, Doney would face up to six years in jail.