City bans celebrated volunteer from parkBy Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | May 25,2013Rutland City officials have issued a no trespass order at Pine Hill Park to a man whose years spent contributing to improvements there have been recognized with an award and numerous accolades.
Earlier this month city Recreation Superintendent EJay Bishop signed off on an order that bans Michael W. Smith from entering the wooded park or neighboring Giorgetti Park.
Smith, 47, received an award for his environmental stewardship at the park where he has volunteered for more than a decade.
But in a statement issued this week, Rutland City Attorney Charles Romeo wrote that Smith has been prohibited from entering the park due to a felony criminal charge he is faced with in Rutland criminal court.
“Because of the nature and circumstances of the allegations as set forth in court documents, the city became concerned for Mr. Smith and for the safety of the members of the public working in Pine Hill and Giorgetti Parks,” Romeo wrote, adding that the city’s insurance carrier was consulted prior to the decision. “The city was compelled to take precautions in advance of the summer work season for Mr. Smith’s safety and that of the general public.”
Smith was charged with aggravated domestic assault in the first degree in early February — days after an allegedly violent incident that took place at a home on Fox Run Lane in West Rutland.
Smith pleaded innocent to the charge and was released on a number of court ordered conditions.
A Rutland County Sheriff’s Department deputy was called to 116 Fox Run Lane just before 6 a.m. on January 30 for an assault complaint.
At the home, Cpl. Jason Allen said Smith told him that he “freaked out” and that he had received a message from God instructing him to sacrifice the home’s owner, Raymond Sevigny, 67.
Sevigny told police that earlier in the day Smith became enraged during a discussion and began hitting him in the head with a frying pan. He said Smith then dragged him into a bedroom and began choking him until he was able to overcome Smith and flee, Allen wrote in a police affidavit.
Later, Sevigny said he realized he was bleeding from cuts to his back which he believe were inflicted by a pair of scissors that Smith was allegedly wielding.
The relationship between Sevigny and Smith was characterized as a romantic one although in a handwritten statement to the court Smith described Sevigny as “A wonderful friend” and “almost a godfather of sorts to me for many years.”
In his account, Smith wrote that the year leading up to the January incident had been filled with hardship and loss for him and he wrote that the events of the past year “just seemed to come crashing down and finally broke me” during the incident.
Reached on Friday, Smith declined to comment on the incident. His attorney, Elizabeth Mann, could not be reached for comment.
Among the court ordered conditions issued by Judge Theresa DiMauro was a requirement that Smith engage in a mental health screening and abide by any treatment recommendations.
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