(Burlington Health and Rehab in South Burlington Vermont/ Google)
by Nancy Shack, WBZ NewsRadio1030
BURLINGTON, Vermont (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Vermont man has admitted to sexually assaulting his 93-year-old mother-in-law on her death bed. 71-year-old Stephen Edwards of South Burlington pleaded guilty on Thursday in Vermont Superior Court to lewd and lascivious conduct with a vulnerable adult, and will be sentenced in June. He faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 and must register as a sex offender.
The victim was a hospice patient at Burlington Health and Rehab. When a nurse who walked into the room to administer morphine to the dying patient, she found Edwards sexually abusing the victim. The District Attorney's office says the nurse found Edwards with his mouth on his mother-in-law's breast.
Edwards has told various people differing stories, in an attempt to explain his actions. He told police he was checking to see if the woman was breathing. According to witness affidavits, he told others he was saying goodbye, and the act was not sexual. The victim was unable to talk or otherwise communicate because of her medical condition, and died days after the assault.
Edwards is the owner of Vermont Coin and Jewelry, and has a criminal record. He received a suspended sentence of three to six months in prison, and was placed on probation for buying stolen property. According to the Vermont Department of Corrections, he is currently supervised by the Burlington Probation and Parole Office.