Washington County cop charged with soliciting prostitute

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SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) He's supposed to uphold the law, but now a part-time Washington County police officer and select board member is accused of breaking it, by paying a man to perform sex acts.

Lynn Doney/File

Police say 57-year-old Lynn Doney of Northfield, faces charges of soliciting a prostitute at a motel in Shelburne last week.

Reporter Ike Bendavid: What kind of man was he?
Chief William Dodge: I liked Lynn. I still like Lynn. He would give you the shirt off his back. He would do anything for you.

Barre Town Police Chief William Dodge has worked with Lynn Doney for over ten years and says he is still trying to grasp what he has found out about his officer. "I was shocked, I was surprised, and I was disappointed," Dodge said.

Police say a report of suspicious activity at the Harbor Place in Shelburne led to an arrest Friday. "Throughout the course of the investigation it was determined that there was some prostitution going on at Harbor Place," said Shelburne Police Officer Josh Flore.

Police say they identified a man who said he was paid to perform sex acts. Then they arrested Doney, charging him with Soliciting Prostitution and Obstruction of Justice. Police say he paid for sexual acts in Shelburne and Barre.

"It was discovered that through the investigation that he was involved in EMS and police work out of Barre," Officer Flore said.

Doney's public service runs deep --- working full-time for the Barre EMS, part time for the Washington County Sheriff's Office as a court security officer, and part time for Barre Town Police as security at Thunder Road. He's now on administrative leave. Doney is also an elected member of Northfield's Selectboard.

"At this point there is nothing that shows there is any exploitation based on his job titles," said Washington County State's attorney Rory Thibault. He says there are no charges in Washington County, where Doney worked and lived, but that they will review cases he was involved in. "We currently have no active cases where he was an investigating officer here, so we don't anticipate any impact on other cases currently pending in Washington County."

Based on previous cases, Thibault says prostitution is often a sign of other issues. "It has become clear that prostitution is a last recourse for people who are struggling with addiction or abject poverty, or other struggles," he said. "Whatever the circumstances they have, there are people that can help."

Those involved in the case say it's tough to see their peers in trouble. "It's kind of the proverbial punch in the gut, you know? You hate to see it happen," Officer Flore said.

That includes Doney's boss, Chief Dodge. "These are the kinds of things that people see and hold on to as opposed to all the good things that police officers do," he said.

Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George will handle this case. She said she couldn't comment until she reviews the paperwork. Doney is due in court Thursday.