Decades-old case against ex-cop heading to court

January 12, 2020 GMT

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A long-delayed case of a former New York police detective accused of sexually assaulting a girl at his vacation home in Vermont is heading to court Monday.

A team from Attorney General T.J. Donovan’s office and a public defender will discuss the status of the case Monday with a judge.

Leonard Forte was charged with felony sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in Vermont in 1987. The then-Long Island resident was convicted in 1988 of three counts of sexual assault of a minor accusing him of committing various sexual acts on his daughter’s friend while the girl was a guest at the family’s vacation home in Landgrove.

The following year, a judge ordered a new trial saying the prosecutor had been too emotional.

The case was held up after Forte, who now lives in LaBelle, Florida, said a terminal illness prevented him from traveling to Vermont, WCAX-TV reported.

“Justice has been delayed for far too long in this case,” Donovan said in a written statement. “The state of Vermont is committed to seeking justice for the victim and bringing Mr. Forte to trial. The time is now.”

Forte’s public defender Susan McManus said in an email Saturday that she had only recently been assigned to the case and was not in a position to comment on the delays.

“It is obviously attracting a large amount of media attention. I would ask that people keep an open mind and not prejudge the case,” she wrote.

A status conference is scheduled for Monday.