Susan Sweetser

Susan Sweetser
Susan Sweetser

Time Period

1940 to Today

Notable Facts

Lawyer and a two term Vermont State Senator. Well known for passing legislation supporting victim's rights.

Personal Information

Date of Birth


Primary Residence

Essex Junction


Roman Catholic



Historical Significance

Susan Sweetser is a Vermont woman who greatly impacted the judicial system in Vermont. In 1980, Susan Sweetser was kidnapped and raped by Robert Percy. Her attempt to seek justice and closure in this case led her to her work as an advocate of victim's rights, and, eventually, to her work as a Vermont State Senator.

In 1990, ten years after her attack, Sweetser was motivated to speak out and tell her story in order to win support for victim's rights. She talked to the Burlington Free Press and got a series published called "Searching for Justice", which highlighted what happened to her and what needed to change. During this same time, she also testified on behalf of a bill that would increase the maximum penalty for rape and kidnapping. Both of these events motivated Sweetser to do further work in advocacy for victim's rights. She realized that one of the best ways to change laws is to get elected to the State Legislature, which she decided to pursue. In 1992, Sweetser was elected to the Vermont State Senate and served two terms. During those two terms, she helped pass the constitutional bail amendment for which she had been advocating before becoming a Senator. She helped pass comprehensive anti-stalking legislation, a crime victim's bill of rights, a sex offender registry bill and a bill that made resisting arrest a crime. During her second term, Sweetser was named Chair of the Judiciary Committee.

Aside from her successes as a politician and as an advocate, Sweetser was also a professional and mother. In 1998 "Working Mother Magazine" named Sweetser "National Working Mother of the Year." After returning to school at Wharton for her MBA, Sweetser took the position of directing MassMutual's Marketing Division and is a member of both the Vermont and New York Bar Association. She also works as an adjunct professor of business law at St. Michael's College in Vermont.

Organizations or Movements

  • Founded Surviors of Crimes, an organization that supplies resources for victims and their families.


  • Vermont State Senator
  • Adjunct Professor of Business Law
  • Certified Financial Planner Chartered Financial Consultant
  • Victim's Rights Advocate


  • BA, Johnson State College, (1981)
  • J.D., Vermont Law School, (1985)
  • MBA, The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, (2002).

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Biographical Infromation

  • Biographical Information and Political Stances Link

  • MassMutual Press Release Link

  • Depositions Can Be Ordeal as Well as a Protection Link