Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Vermont Department of Corrections to Improve Access for Inmates with Disabilities
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Stuart Kurt Rollins, 59, of Barre City, Vermont, was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release for a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3631, a federal hate crime statute. Rollins has been detained since Nov. 27, 2019, and thus has served nearly a year in prison.
According to court documents filed in connection with Rollins’s guilty plea, on July 29, 2019, Rollins intimidated and harassed his neighbors, members of a Hispanic family, including two children, because of their race and national origin and because they occupied a home on his street. Rollins threatened to burn down the family’s home while they were inside and threatened to set fire to a member of the family. Rollins shouted racial and ethnic slurs at the family, yelled at them to “go back to Mexico,” and yelled that “you Mexicans don’t belong on this street.” Rollins warned the family that he would do “whatever it takes to get you off this street.” Rollins also exposed his genitals and buttocks in front of the family, including one of the children. Finally, Rollins smashed the family’s mailbox and smashed glass on their lawn during the incident.
“Violence in the form of federal hate crimes is antithetical to our core values of freedom, unity and equality”, stated U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont Christina E. Nolan. “The defendant’s threats here made a Vermont family feel unsafe in their own home, just because of their race and national origin. As this case shows, Vermont is unfortunately not immune to hate-motivated acts. Our office will do all we can to work with our partners to end these vicious acts and, where they violate federal law, will not hesitate to take action.”
“Investigating hate crimes is one of the FBI’s highest priorities,” stated Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albany Field Office. “No individual should live in fear because of someone’s intolerance and hatred. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect the rights of all Americans.”
This case was investigated by the FBI, Albany Division, Burlington Resident Agency, with assistance from the Barre City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jules Torti of the District of Vermont and Trial Attorney Olimpia Michel of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted this case. Steven Barth from the Office of the Public Defender for the District of Vermont represented Mr. Rollins.