Elodie Reed, St. Albans Messenger
Police rule out foul play; impact on case unknown
ENOSBURG FALLS — The woman who initially brought sex-for-rent allegations against Republican state Sen. Norm McAllister died over the weekend, Vermont State Police report.
“Diane Lefebrve, who is the initial complainant in the McAllister case, did pass away,” Vermont State Police spokesman Scott Waterman said Monday afternoon.
According to Waterman, police dispatch was first notified of her death at 12:50 p.m. Saturday. Lefebvre, was a 58-year-old resident of Enosburgh.
Waterman said police did not believe the death to be suspicious.
“There was preliminary investigation that showed no sign of foul play,” he said. Vermont State Police are currently awaiting autopsy and toxicology reports.
“At this point, we don’t know the cause of death,” said Waterman.
It is unclear what effect, if any, Lefebvre’s death will have on the McAllister case. Calls to the Franklin County State’s Attorney’s office were not returned by press time this morning.
Just under a month ago, Lefebvre went to Vermont State Police and, according to affidavits, told detectives that Sen. Norm McAllister, 63, of Franklin, propositioned her for sex in exchange for her son’s rent money. Lefebvre’s son was living in a trailer on McAllister’s property.
Through wiretapped calls, police gathered evidence to cite McAllister on sex-for-rent and sexual assault charges. The victims in these alleged crimes included Lefebvre, who McAllister allegedly solicited for prostitution; a woman living on McAllister’s property, who he allegedly raped and solicited for prostitution with himself as well as another man he brought to have sex with her; and another woman who worked on McAllister’s farm and as his statehouse intern who he allegedly raped at least twice.
McAllister was arrested by plainclothes officers outside the Statehouse on May 7 and arraigned on three felony counts of sexual assault and three misdemeanor counts of prohibited acts at Franklin County Superior Court on May 8. McAllister was then released on no-contact conditions.
Since his arrest and arraignment, McAllister has chosen not to step down from his Senate seat despite calls from Gov. Peter Shumlin, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, Senate Pro-Temp John Campbell, House Speaker Shap Smith, Rep. Brian Savage, Rep. Kathie Keenan, fellow Franklin County Republican senator, Dustin Degree, and a number of people in the Franklin County community.
As of press time this morning, 140 people agreed to sign a Facebook petition asking McAllister to resign. The petition was launched on the site Monday.
In the meantime, McAllister has been removed from the Senate Agriculture and Institution committees by Scott, who presides over the Senate. In addition, Campbell said he would look into the expulsion of McAllister if he does not resign by the beginning of the 2016 session.
Outside of her involvement in the McAllister case, those close to Lefebvre are mourning her death. A number of messages have filled her Facebook page since Saturday, and a “gofundme” page has been set up by Lefebvre’s daughter to help with funeral expenses.
On the page, a description details Lefebvre’s life as a difficult one:
“Diane was born one of eight children in a very poor, broken family plagued with mental illness, drugs, alcohol, and/or physical abuse. Her life was a constant struggle with mental illness, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, depression, suicide attempts and mental hospitalizations. Diane was never able to get the help she so desperately needed.”
The page also describes Lefebvre as having three children of her own, two sons and a daughter. One son was living in a trailer on McAllister’s property when the Senator allegedly approached Lefebvre for sex in exchange for rent money. Lefebvre then went to police.
On Monday, the trailer in question appeared empty. No cars, people or movement were visible from the roadway. Only a soft rain hit the roof of the trailer as it sat, nestled in hillside greenery.
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Editor’s Note: Those who would like to make donations for Diane Lefebvre’s funeral expenses can visit her gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/vxd52e4.