Gov. Phil Scott joined Vermont’s top general Thursday to defend the Vermont National Guard’s response to sexual misconduct and other bad behavior outlined in a series of articles published over the past two weeks by VTDigger.
“As we have seen throughout time in many areas and in many organizations, there will be instances of poor judgment, mistakes made and an occasional bad apple,” Scott told two dozen reporters gathered inside the Guard’s Green Mountain Armory at Camp Johnson. “But individual situations such as these are the exception, not the rule.”
Scott said that his support of Guard members and leadership was “unwavering.” He added that his office had previously reviewed a complaint — the only one he has received about the Guard while in office — that contained some of the same allegations in the VTDigger series and determined that the Guard had followed state and federal processes in addressing them.
“If more information comes up that leads me to believe the process and protocols weren’t adhered to, we’ll take another look,” the governor said, adding that he had no reason to believe that such cases existed after speaking with Guard leadership.
“I’m not convinced that there is any more,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, Vermont’s adjutant general, said VTDigger’s reporting was largely accurate, but he felt it painted the Guard in an unfair light by suggesting that isolated incidents represented a broader culture of excessive drinking and sexual misconduct within the organization.