Burr and Burton faculty member pleads not guilty to unlawful mischief, disorderly conduct charges

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MANCHESTER — A Burr and Burton Academy program director pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two felony charges and three misdemeanor charges following an incident at a property he owns in which he damaged vehicles and threatened juveniles, police say.

Jason Pergament, 39, of East Dorset, was charged with two felony counts of unlawful mischief, two misdemeanor counts of unlawful mischief, and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct following his violent reaction to an underage drinking party that was held at a Manchester home he rents out, according to police.

Pergament is listed as the director of the Student Success Program at Burr and Burton.

He appeared in Superior Court, Criminal Division on Wednesday morning to answer to the charges, for which Judge John Valente found probable cause, court documents state. Pergament was also issued conditions of release which forbid him from discussing the case with any witnesses.

After receiving a report of an underage drinking party being held at a home on Smiths Hill Road on Oct. 20, Manchester Police arrived to see "forty to fifty kids" run into the woods, leaving approximately eight youths at the home, according to an affidavit from the Manchester Police Department.

Pergament arrived at the house and was met in the driveway by Winhall police officers. As he walked up to the house, a Winhall officer witnessed Pergament kick and damage three cars parked in front of the home, police say.

The damage to the first two cars was estimated to be slightly over $1,000 each, and the owner of the third car declined to give a statement on repairs because Pergament is his landlord and he did not want to get Pergament in trouble, states the affidavit.

When Pergament walked to the back porch, he began to scream profanities and threaten multiple juveniles who were seated there, police say.

Police say Pergament asked the group of youths which ones attend Burr and Burton, and when one said she does, Pergament took an iPhone and smashed it to the ground, according to the affidavit. Police say Pergament continued to scream and curse at the juveniles until an officer brought Pergament inside to de-escalate the situation.

Pergament admitted to the officer that he "lost his cool a little," and was asked to leave the property so no other issues would arise, police say. Pergament left the property without incident and agreed to come to the police department later that week, where he was fingerprinted, photographed, and issued a citation to appear in court on Wednesday.

His next appearance at court is a calendar call scheduled for Dec. 14.

BBA Headmaster Mark Tashjian said in an email that the school is aware that one of its employees has been charged with criminal misconduct, but could not discuss specifics because personnel matters are confidential.

"Generally, where an employee is alleged to have engaged in criminal act, the school places the employee on paid administrative leave while it conducts its own investigation," Tashjian said, noting that paid administrative leave is a non-disciplinary status. "If the school concludes that there has been misconduct, we will take appropriate disciplinary action."

Efforts to reach Pergament were unsuccessful.

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at cwisniewski@benningtonbanner.com and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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