Less so on shoplifting cessation strategy, refiling murder charges
By Guy Page
Asked this morning on WVMT The Morning Drive to name the most important issues facing the next Vermont Attorney General, Democratic candidate Charity Clark listed ‘reproductive freedom’ and ‘climate change.’ The latter is the ‘existential’ threat of our times, she said.
Clark, the chief of staff for TJ Donovan (who resigned earlier this month) before she resigned earlier this year to run for the office, and Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault are seeking the Democratic nomination. H. Brooke Paige is the sole Republican candidate.
Clark said her role in the Vermont Attorney General’s investigation of child abuse at St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington was one of her proudest achievements.
In December 2020 the office released a 300-page report outlining abuses at the orphanage, which closed in 1974. No charges were filed because the statute of limitations had expired on any charge short of murder, the report said.
Clark also said the office needs to work hard to reduce the opioid epidemic. Last year 210 Vermonters died of opioid overdoses, a 33% increase over the previous year. The increase is largely due to the influx of fentanyl, which is even more potent and dangerous than heroin, and to pandemic-related isolation.
During her 30 minute interview with Morning Drive host Kurt Wright, Clark said at least twice that she was on “the leadership team” in the AG’s office. However, when asked by Wright what steps she at Attorney General would take to resolve the increase in shoplifting and some state’s attorneys’ unwillingness to prosecute misdemeanor shoplifting of less than $900 worth of merchandise, she did not offer a specific strategy.
Clark also said she was “in the room” when the decision was made to refile murder charges on three suspects whose charges were dropped by Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George, who maintained they were suffering from insanity. But she declined to say how, as AG, she would decide in similar circumstances, saying instead that she was “reluctant” because the circumstances were “unusual.”
Clark was raised in Vermont and graduated from law school in Boston. Her family operated Clark’s IGA in Londonderry.
Her bio from the May, 2022 class of Emerge Vermont, the Vermont Democratic Party boot camp for women political candidates, reads:
“Charity Clark is the Chief of Staff and an Assistant Attorney General at the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. A graduate of Boston College Law School, University of Vermont, and Burr & Burton Academy, Charity previously worked as an associate at Downs Rachlin Martin in Burlington and Orrick in New York City. Prior to law school, Charity was a policy analyst at the Vermont Governor’s Office.
“She is a Justice of the Peace and serves on the board of trustees of the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston, the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, and Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester. Charity recently completed hiking the 272-mile Long Trail.”