“A Bad Day at Work”

ST. JOHNSBURY, VT - A Brighton woman who was found guilty of disorderly conduct and attempted assault by menace was sentenced by Judge Robert Gerety last week.Mary J. Taylor, 68, of Island Pond, was given 40 hours community service and a suspended sentence of 6-12 months with three day's credit for time served.In October, Taylor was found guilty by jury of engaging in threatening behavior toward Kathleen Nelson, also of Island Pond, a volunteer who runs the Brighton Cat Project. Nelson said that when she brought her recyclables to the Brighton Recycling Center where Taylor was employed by the town as the attendant, Taylor approached her and waved a stick with two nails sticking out of it at her face and neck. Nelson told the court she feared for her safety.During the sentencing hearing held in Caledonia Superior Court in St. Johnsbury, Judge Gerety denied Nelson’s request that Taylor write letters of apology to Brighton Police Chief Jeff Noyes and the Brighton Selectboard. Taylor has since resigned from her job at the recycling center.When Taylor’s attorney Sten Lium put his client on the stand to explain what community service she was already engaged in, Taylor said, “I know I’ve been found guilty, but these charges never happened. I did not do this; I had a bad day at work. That was it.”Judge Gerety disagreed. “A jury of your peers found you did commit the offenses. The court is dismayed that there is no sense of remorse for these serious misdemeanors. You committed a crime and the impact was severe.” The Judge also ordered Taylor to stay at least 500 feet away from Kathleen Nelson and to have no contact with her, to be fingerprinted by the Brighton Police Department so her fingerprints are file with the state database, and to probation.Nelson additionally had asked the court to limit the contact Taylor had with animals and children, however Judge Gerety found no cause to impose those conditions in this case.“There is no crime against animals or children,” said Gerety after Taylor testified she spends a lot of time with several grandchildren who live in the area.Taylor was convicted of 39 counts of cruelty to animals on February 18, 2011 and sentenced to three years probation and time served, and ordered not to own, possess or care for any animals while on probation. The original February conviction was the result of a 2009 search warrant executed at Mary Taylor’s property where several sick and neglected cats were removed from her residence. Both cases against Taylor were successfully prosecuted by Essex County State’s Attorney Vince Illuzzi.