By RUSSELL JONES
A former Vermont State Police Academy cadet was found guilty of sexual assault on Thursday at Rutland County District Court. Following a three-day trial that concluded on May 30, a Rutland jury convicted Kyle Lenher, age 26, of the felony crime, according to a release from the Rutland County District Attorney’s office.
At trial, the state proved that just after midnight, on August 14, 2016, Lenher compelled a friend of his from high school to engage in sexual intercourse. The two had met up for drinks at various bars in the Rutland area. Lenher became intoxicated, according to the release, and the woman offered to drive him home to his place in Brandon.
At his apartment, he took the keys of the vehicle and persuaded the woman to come inside his apartment, the release said. Once inside, Lenher reportedly ignored her protests and forcibly escorted her to his bedroom where he sexually assaulted her. Minutes later, the woman called for assistance from her friends while walking down Route 7 after fleeing the apartment and Lenher.
At the time of the offense, Lenher was a cadet at the Academy. The case is now set for sentencing on Sept. 17, 2019. The former cadet faces up to life imprisonment.
Deputy State’s Attorney Travis Weaver tried the case for the Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“The state greatly appreciates the time of the jury as well as the bravery and fortitude of the young victim in this case,” Weaver said in the release. “It is not easy to come forward after being the victim of a sexual assault and we greatly admire her courage.” “While many people think of sexual assault as a crime perpetrated by strangers, the experience of this office is that many assaults are perpetrated by people known and trusted by the victim,” he continued. “We encourage victims of sexual assault or abuse to contact the Rutland Unit for Special Investigations.”