Thursday, January 3, 2008

Jeffrey and Steven Matteson - Father & Son Child Molesters

A Waite Drive man is facing life in prison after being charged with a felony sex crime that police said they learned about while investigating a similar accusation against the man's father.

Jeffrey W. Matteson, 22, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a charge of aggravated sexual assault on a victim under the age of 10 in Bennington County District Court. The charge carries a possible penalty of life in prison.

In an affidavit, Bennington Police Detective Lawrence Cole said police first heard this accusation from an 8-year-old girl when they were investigating a case against Matteson's father, Steven A. Matteson Sr. The girl told police she and a 6-year-old girl had been forced to perform sexual acts with Jeffrey Matteson.

Steven Matteson, 50, is currently scheduled to go to trial in April on two felony counts of aggravated sexual assault on a victim under the age of 10 and a felony charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child based on allegations made by the 8-year-old girl.

In June, Steven Matteson pleaded guilty to a felony charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child that police said they filed after a woman came to them and said she had spoken to her daughter after she learned of the other charges against Steven Matteson. The sentence for that charge has been postponed until the other charges are resolved.

According to Cole, he and an investigator from the Vermont Department of Children and Families met with the 6-year-old girl in November 2006 because of the information they received from the 8-year-old girl.

Cole said the girl had a "difficult time" and "would become quiet and put her head down on the table" during the interview so charges were not pursued at that time.

However, the 6-year-old girl continued to meet with a therapist from United Counseling Services in Bennington.

The therapist told the state in February that the girl was beginning to make allegations against Jeffrey Matteson, Cole said.

"(The girl) says that (Steven Matteson) was aware of what was going on and would yell to (Jeffrey Matteson) to stop. He would say he was going to call the police, but (the girl) said he never did," the therapist wrote, according to the affidavit.

Cole and another investigator from the Department of Children and Families met with the girl again in December.

According to Cole, the 6-year-old girl was able to provide more information in December and said that Jeffrey Matteson "does bad stuff" to her that caused "a lot of hurt."

Cole said he arrested Jeffrey Matteson on Dec. 13 and Matteson denied ever touching the girl in a sexual manner.

Bennington County District Court Judge Katherine Hayes denied the state's request to hold Matteson without bail at Wednesday's arraignment.

Hayes said Cole had not asked her to set cash bail when he contacted her about the charges and said she couldn't justify holding Matteson without bail because he did not appear to present a risk of flight.

Matteson could have been held without bail, even though he doesn't have a criminal history, because he faces a sentence of life in prison. Bennington County Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett requested a hearing so the state could present evidence that Plunkett said he believed would justify the state's request that Matteson be held without bail.

The hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

Matteson was released without bail on conditions that included staying away from the girl involved in the case.

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