Bryan Love, 37, of Hebron, N.Y., pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. Should he be convicted, each charge carries a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of 15. Love was released on conditions that he not have contact with the complaining witness, go within 300 feet of her, or go to the Mountain School.
According to the school's Web page, Love teaches Spanish and physical education.
Bennington Police detective Anthony Silvestro, who was assigned to the case, said he spoke to Love about the allegations and was put in contact with Love's attorney, Bradley Myerson, of Manchester. Silvestro said Myerson gave a written response to specific questions Silvestro had asked. According to court officials, this document was not part of the public file. According to the affidavit, Love told police he had been put on paid leave by the school.
Myerson said in an interview his client has denied the allegations against him and an argument had been made Monday for Judge Cortland Corsones to review the charges. Myerson said he expects to file motions to dismiss the charges as the case moves forward. He said a number of parents were present in the courtroom to support Love.
"He loves being a teacher and because of that this has been extremely painful for him," said Myerson.
Houck would not comment on the case but did send a statement to the Banner via email.
"Whenever The Mountain School is confronted with information or a claim of child abuse or neglect, it immediately complies with the statutory mandate to make a report of that possible abuse or neglect to the Vermont Department of Children and Families (the State Agency that receives reports of child abuse or neglect - DCF), and the Mountain School did so in this case. Then, in some situations, as in this one, DCF brings in the police to carry out the investigation," the statement reads.
"The Mountain School has cooperated fully with the authorities in their on-going investigation. Members of our community should understand that the School's involvement with the investigation means that our staff and Trustees are not at liberty to discuss this matter outside the School," it continues.
According to the statement, the school does full background checks on teachers including reference checks before hiring them.
"The Mountain School and the authorities have talked to many staff members, parents and children and have received no indication of any problematic behavior with other students by the teacher who has been charged. Since The Mountain School's report to the DCF, in this instance, the teacher in question has not been at the School and will not be permitted to come to the School," the statement reads.