The United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Edmund Thornton, 65, who until recently lived in East Calais, pleaded not guilty today in United States District Court in Burlington to a charge that he failed to register as a sex offender after moving to Vermont. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle ordered that Thornton be detained pending trial, which has not been scheduled.
According to court records, on October 27, 2022, a federal grand jury in Vermont returned a one count indictment alleging that Thornton violated the Sex Offender Registration And Notification Act (SORNA). Thornton was arrested in Pennsylvania on the charge on October 31 and has been held pending his transfer to Vermont.
Records indicate that in 1999, Thornton pleaded guilty in Pennsylvania to charges that included attempted deviate sexual intercourse with a ten-year-old girl. Thornton served several years in prison. Under Pennsylvania law, Thornton was required to register in that state as a convicted sex offender upon his release from custody. The federal Sex Offender Registration And Notification Act also required Thornton to promptly register with authorities in any state to which he moves. According to the indictment, Thornton moved to Vermont in about June 2020 but failed to register with authorities here, as required by SORNA.
The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charge in the indictment is merely an accusation and that Thornton is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
If convicted, Thornton faces up to ten years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.
This case was investigated by the United States Marshals Service.
Thornton is represented by the Office of the Federal Defender. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and Child Exploitation Obscenity Section, Criminal Division (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc