Police: Gang activity investigated in assault case

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A Colchester resident was arrested September 8 for attacking a juvenile member of his so-called gang, court documents show.

Scott Whalon, 30, pleaded not guilty to one felony count of aggravated assault and one misdemeanor count of simple assault attempted by menace on Tuesday, Sept. 12 in Chittenden Superior Court – Criminal Division.

According to an affidavit from Colchester Detective Jack Lehneman, the charges stem from an alleged incident in which Whalon, the leader of his gang the East Side Goons, choked and threatened a 14-year-old boy. Lehneman wrote that the attack was punitive, a violent consequence of breaking one of the gang’s many rules.

Vermont is not immune to gang activity. In 2013, a report published by the Vermont Gang Taskforce commissioned by former Gov. Peter Shumlin the previous year reported Vermont had hosted chapters of numerous gangs including the Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings.

“I don’t know if they fit anybody’s description of a gang but their own,” Lehneman said of the East Side Goons. “Essentially these were adults that were focusing their efforts on young individuals that had strained relationships with their parents at home, and were touting themselves as a family.”

Police say the gang has about 20 members and is based out of Whalon’s West Lakeshore Dr. residence near the Malletts Bay Campground.

According to the affidavit, Whalon allegedly formed the Goons in a New York prison while serving time for robbery. After his release, Whalon assumed leadership of the group, police say. Calling himself “the Big Homie,” Whalon implemented a rigid social hierarchy within the gang, placing himself at the top, police said, while young female members of the gang were at the bottom.

One of the gang’s alleged rules says female members had to obey male members, including “sexual requests,” Lehneman wrote in his affidavit.

On August 21, a girl came to CPD with her mother and two friends, seeking protection. The girls had left the gang, they told police, and were subjected to a group-beating which the Goons call “violations.”

The violations typically last 17 seconds and are typically doled out during initiation and excommunication rituals and as punishment, the affidavit says.

The girls said Whalon forced them to administer violations to their friends in the past. One of Whalon’s many rules, they said, punished members who refused to beat their friends with a beating three times as severe, the affidavit says.

The girls left the gang after witnessing one of these beatings. Whalon, who was on probation at the time, ordered a 14-year-old boy to beat up another gang member. When he didn’t comply, Whalon got angry, the affidavit says.

“This altercation happened because I was given an order to beat up [another boy] that I didn’t hear,” the boy wrote in a sworn written statement to CPD. “He took his shirt off, grabbed my throat, picked me off of the ground and choked me until I almost blacked out.”

In a sworn, recorded interview on September 7, the boy told Lehneman he feared Whalon would kill him if he fought back.

CPD arrested Whalon the next day. He is currently awaiting trial at Northwest State Correctional Facility, where he is being held without bail.