The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 12: Court Procedure

Chapter 178: ORDERS AGAINST STALKING OR SEXUAL ASSAULT

12 V.S.A. § 5133. Requests for an order against stalking or sexual assault



§ 5133. Requests for an order against stalking or sexual assault

(a) A person, other than a family or household member as defined in 15 V.S.A. § 1101(2), may seek an order against stalking or sexual assault on behalf of him or herself or his or her children by filing a complaint under this chapter. The plaintiff shall submit an affidavit in support of the order.

(b) Except as provided in section 5134 of this title, the court shall grant the order only after notice to the defendant and a hearing. The plaintiff shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant stalked or sexually assaulted the plaintiff.

(c) In a hearing under this chapter, neither opinion evidence of nor evidence of the reputation of the plaintiff's sexual conduct shall be admitted. Evidence of prior sexual conduct of the plaintiff shall not be admitted; provided, however, where it bears on the credibility of the plaintiff or it is material to a fact at issue and its probative value outweighs its private character, the court may admit:

(1) Evidence of the plaintiff's past sexual conduct with the defendant.

(2) Evidence of specific instances of the plaintiff's sexual conduct showing the source of origin of semen, pregnancy, or disease.

(3) Evidence of specific instances of the plaintiff's past false allegations of violations of 13 V.S.A. chapter 59 or 72.

(d)(1) If the court finds by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant has stalked or has been convicted of sexually assaulting the plaintiff, the court shall order the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff or the plaintiff's children, or both, and may make any other such order it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff's children, or both.

(2) If the court finds by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant has sexually assaulted the plaintiff and there is a danger of the defendant further harming the plaintiff, the court shall order the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff or the plaintiff's children, or both, and may make any other such order it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff's children, or both. The court may consider the defendant's past conduct as relevant evidence of future harm.

(e) Relief shall be granted for a fixed period, at the expiration of which time the court may extend any order, upon motion of the plaintiff, for such additional time as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff's children, or both. It is not necessary for the court to find that the defendant stalked or sexually assaulted the plaintiff during the pendency of the order to extend the terms of the order. The court may modify its order at any subsequent time upon motion by either party and a showing of a substantial change in circumstance.

(f) No filing fee shall be required.

(g) Every order under this chapter shall contain the name of the court, the names of the parties, the date of the petition, and the date and time of the order and shall be signed by the judge.

(h) Form complaints and form orders for an "Order Against Stalking or Sexual Assault" shall be provided by the Court Administrator and shall be maintained by the clerks of the courts.

(i) When findings are required under this section, the court shall make either written findings of fact or oral findings of fact on the record.

(j) Every final order issued under this section shall bear the following language: "VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AND MAY ALSO BE PROSECUTED AS CRIMINAL CONTEMPT PUNISHABLE BY FINE OR IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH."

(k) Affidavit forms required pursuant to this section shall bear the following language: "MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS IN THIS AFFIDAVIT IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 2904."

(l) A finding by the court pursuant to this chapter that the defendant stalked or sexually assaulted the plaintiff shall not be admissible in any subsequent civil proceedings for the purpose of establishing liability. (Added 2005, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2006.)