Molestation suspect faces additional assault charges (12/3/09)

Authorities believe Kolibas drugged other girls

Dec. 3, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

A Williston man accused of drugging and molesting a teenage girl in the spring is facing new charges following allegations that there may be more victims.

Robert Kolibas, 50, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault by administering a drug. He pleaded not guilty to both counts in Vermont District Court in Burlington on Tuesday.

The charges allege Kolibas gave the drugs Diazepam and Ambien to his daughter and friend — the one he is accused of molesting — without their consent. Diazepam is better known as Valium.

In addition, prosecutors and investigators with the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations believe Kolibas may have administered similar sedatives to six more girls during several sleepovers dating back to the summer of 2008.

While no charges have been filed in conjunction with the allegations, the prosecution is moving to have those instances brought up in trial as “prior bad acts,” said Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan.

The new charges come in addition to three felony counts to which Kolibas pleaded not guilty in June: lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, second degree unlawful restraint and giving a drug to a minor.

If found guilty of all five charges, Kolibas could face up to 30 years in prison and up to $40,000 in fines.

On May 30, Kolibas allegedly drugged the then 13-year-old girl and his daughter by giving them a “smoothie” drink during a sleepover at the Kolibas home, according to a police affidavit. The friend told investigators she awoke some time later to find Kolibas molesting her. She called her parents to pick her up, who then reported the incident to police.

On May 31, the girl provided a urine sample at Fletcher Allen Health Care. The test came up positive for the sedative benzodiazepine, which is found in Ambien and Valium. During a search of the Kolibas home later in the day, police discovered empty prescription bottles for both drugs, used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.

Kolibas was apprehended on June 1 after fleeing the state. He was found in Maine, less than 25 miles from the Canadian border. Police brought Kolibas back to Vermont several weeks later.

It was also discovered during the investigation that Kolibas is on the Florida sex offender registry list, though he had never informed Vermont authorities about the designation when moving to the state several years ago. His Florida offense stems from distributing pornography to a minor in 1994 and 1995.

 

‘Prior bad acts’

Speaking after the hearing, Donovan said there is no evidence at this time that Kolibas molested his daughter or the six other girls who police believe were drugged. But the six girls, all minors, gave investigators similar descriptions of smoothie drinks and drugged experiences as originally described by the alleged 13-year-old victim.

“We have evidence that Mr. Kolibas has done this to six other young women in this community,” Donovan said.

According to court documents, most descriptions revolve around Kolibas giving the girls a pink or red smoothie that sometimes tasted funny. One girl said Kolibas called the smoothie his “friendly drink” and always prepared it for sleepovers.

After having the drink, the girls began to feel “loopy” or “dizzy” and could not stay awake or were unable to stand up, the court papers state. Some say they fell asleep while watching television or in the middle of texting friends.

At least five of the girls told investigators they woke up in a room other than the one where they fell asleep.

One girl said she tasted something bitter, like a crushed-up pill, at the end of finishing her smoothie. Another girl said she fell asleep in the Kolibas living room and that Kolibas told her the next morning he had to carry her to bed. A different girl recalled waking up next to Kolibas’ daughter and finding the man in the room. She told investigators she had been frightened when it felt like someone touched her foot.

Some of the girls slept over as a guest of another daughter of Kolibas. Those girls said the daughter also had drinks prepared by her father.

Donovan said authorities are still investigating the case and will “leave no stone unturned.” He hopes the alleged drugging of the six girls will be admissible in court, but that will be up to a judge to decide at a future hearing.

Meanwhile, prosecutors and Kolibas’ public defenders are preparing for a trial that could begin in mid-February.

Kolibas remains incarcerated without bail at the Chittenden Correctional Center in South Burlington.