By Alan J. Keays, VTDigger
RUTLAND — Police said a 9-year-old child found alone at a downtown movieplex had gone there with a Rutland man who was later discovered passed out from using heroin.
Lawrence F. Jacques, 29, pleaded not guilty Monday, April 17, in Rutland Criminal Court to charges of cruelty to a child under the age of 10 and possession of heroin. He was ordered jailed for lack of $1,000 bail.
If convicted of the charges, Jacques, who has 10 prior misdemeanor and three felony convictions, faces up to three years in jail.
Rutland police said they were called by an employee of Flagship Cinema in the Rutland Shopping Plaza around 11:15 p.m. Sunday with a report of a 9-year-old boy who said he was unable to find the relative who had taken him to the movies.
The boy told police he went with a relative named Larry to see the movie “The Boss Baby” and that halfway through the film, Larry left and never came back.
When the movie ended, the boy went to find Larry but couldn’t, a police affidavit stated. Asked how he got to the theater, the boy told police he rode on the handlebars of Larry’s bicycle.
Police called the boy’s parents, who weren’t immediately available. Police then identified the relative who had taken the boy to the theater as Jacques, the police affidavit stated.
A theater employee, according to the affidavit, said Jacques was spotted in the lobby earlier that night on his cellphone and he seemed a “little out of it.”
Employees checked the theater for Jacques, but couldn’t find him, the affidavit stated.
Police then heard from the boy’s parents, who told them they dropped the boy off with Jacques earlier in the day and that everything had seemed OK.
A short time later, an employee at the theater told police Jacques had been located inside Theater 4, “passed out cold.” The theater was empty, according to the affidavit, the screen was off, and Jacques was sleeping in a chair with his feet up on a chair in front of him.
Jacques had been drooling and it appeared he had gotten sick, according to the affidavit.
“Corporal (Adam) Lucia stated he had to shake him and yell a few times in order to get Jacques to wake up,” according to the affidavit. “Jacques woke up and appeared confused, and had not remembered being there with [the boy], or realized [the boy] was gone.”
Police said they searched Jacques and found a syringe and heroin.
Prosecutors had been seeking $10,000 bail for Jacques, arguing he had a lengthy criminal record and noting the seriousness of the allegations.
His attorney sought his release on conditions, saying Jacques had a full-time job but little money to pay for bail.
Judge David Fenster set bail at $1,000 and ordered Jacques, if released, to stay away from the theater.