This story was updated at 5:55 p.m.
MONTPELIER — Lt. Gov. Phil Scott said Monday that embattled Sen. Norm McAllister, who faces multiple sex crime charges, intends to resign within 24 hours. The announcement came as Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislators leaders all called for him to step down Monday morning.
But in a bizarre twist, McAllister, R-Franklin, reached by phone at his home Monday afternoon, said he was not aware that anyone had reached out to Scott to promise his resignation. McAllister said he has made no determination about his future and planned to meet with his lawyer Tuesday. He declined to discuss the case any further, but said he has “had better days.”
“My lawyer has told me not to talk to anybody about any of this,” McAllister said. “I’ll be talking to my lawyer tomorrow.”
His lawyer, Brooks McArthur, did not return a message seeking comment.
Later in the day, Scott confirmed that Sen. Peg Flory, R-Rutland, served as the messenger. Scott said Flory was in touch with McAllister throughout the weekend and relayed the message of his pending resignation. Flory spoke again with McAllister Monday afternoon and he is still expected to resign, according to Scott.
“I stand by what I was told and I still believe that I will receive his letter tomorrow morning,” he said.
Scott said he decided to reveal McAllister’s intention to resign after Shumlin and others called for him to step down.
“To be clear, I wouldn’t have announced it this morning without having it physically in my hand — until I heard the governor demanded his resignation and I thought, ‘Well, actually, he’s said he’s going to resign,’ and I thought it was important that I get that information out,” Scott said. “Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten involved but I just felt I had that and I should let people know because it was (McAllister’s) idea.”
McAllister, a second-term senator who previously served five terms in the House, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of sexual assault and prohibited acts. Detailed court documents allege that McAllister forced women to have sex with him in exchange for rent and used sex as a punishment, among other things.
Seven Days reported over the weekend that one victim, who worked for the 63-year-old McAllister on his farm as well as an assistant or intern in Montpelier, alleged that she was possibly as young as 15 when he first assaulted her.
The charges and explicit details about the allegations released Friday in police affidavits have shaken many inside the State House as they work toward adjournment this week.
Scott, a Republican, told reporters McAllister promised early Monday morning to resign within 24 hours.
“I received word earlier this morning that within 24 hours I’ll be receiving his letter of resignation,” Scott told the Vermont Press Bureau.
Word came through a representative of McAllister’s, later revealed to be Flory at 7:30 a.m. “I have not spoken directly to him,” Scott said.
If a letter of resignation is received, Scott said he will hand it over to Senate Secretary John Bloomer who will then notify the governor and Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, D-Windsor. The governor will eventually need to appoint someone to fill the remainder of McAllister’s term.
Scott said Monday that McAllister’s resignation is needed.
“I read the affidavit. The allegations are very serious, very troubling, to say the least. I feel that Sen. McAllister is making the right decision at this time. I think the people of Franklin County deserve a legislator that can devote themselves to their needs and I don’t think he can do that at this time,” the lieutenant governor said.
Earlier Monday, Shumlin, a Democrat called on McAllister to resign now that he is going through the judicial process.
“Given, the incredibly troubling allegations made against Sen. McAllister over the past several days, the right thing for him to do would be for him to resign from the Senate,” Shumlin told the Vermont Press Bureau in an interview. “Sen. McAllister will go through the legal process like any other accused individual, but for the good of Vermont he should not do so as a sitting senator.”