More details emerge in molestation case (12/10/09)

Dec. 10, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

What investigators call “disturbing” details continue to emerge in a case against a Williston man accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl in the spring.

 


    File photo
Robert Kolibas stands next to his public defender during an arraignment in Vermont District Court in June. Kolibas is being held without bail while facing five charges related to an alleged drugging and molestation of a 13-year-old girl.

In a supplemental police affidavit, Robert Kolibas, 50, allegedly trolled the Internet looking for underage girls in chat rooms. Investigators also estimate that Kolibas had more than 16,000 images of child erotica on his computer’s hard drive.

Furthermore, investigators determined that files had been deleted from the computer and are trying to ascertain if any of those files contain child pornography, according to court documents.

Kolibas faces five charges related to the case: lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, second degree unlawful restraint, giving a drug to a minor and two counts of aggravated assault by administering a drug. Kolibas was arraigned on the last two charges last week. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Prosecutors also revealed last week that they believe Kolibas may have drugged six other girls during several sleepovers dating back to the summer of 2008. The prosecution hopes these instances can be brought up in trial as “prior bad acts.”

Kolibas allegedly drugged his daughter and her friend the night of May 30 by putting sedatives into smoothie drinks during a sleepover at his home. When the girls were asleep, Kolibas allegedly molested the 13-year-old friend.

Police seized computers and cameras from Kolibas’ home during the subsequent investigation and later found the erotica images, according to Detective Diana Miranowicz of the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations. Vermont’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is now reviewing deleted files, as Miranowicz said there are ways to recover such files. If child pornography is found, more charges could be forthcoming, Miranowicz said. She said the results of the search could be released shortly.

Miranowicz said the child erotica photos show children in provocative poses and in various stages of undress, though never nude. In Vermont, she said, it is legal to have such pictures. But the images can be used as corroborating evidence in child pornography cases, she said.

Investigations have also revealed that Kolibas often spoke with underage girls in Internet chat rooms. According to the supplemental affidavit, Kolibas would receive e-mail notifications from one Web site if underage girls were broadcasting live via Web cam.

Court documents allege that Kolibas, using the e-mail alias “Mandingoman,” e-mailed girls who claimed to be between the ages of 14 to 17. During one Web cam broadcast by a 15-year-old girl who stripped live, Kolibas allegedly wrote, “Do you mind if older guys watch you? Dayum u r so sexy hope I can watch you play sometime …”

Also included within the affidavit are parts of a letter Kolibas allegedly wrote to his wife in July, from prison. In the letter, he professes his innocence and states the smoothies were meant for his wife, not his daughter or her friend, the alleged victim. He said he wanted to give his wife the sedatives to calm her down after an argument and allow her to get a good night’s sleep.

“Somehow I mixed up the damn smoothies and (the girl) wound up with yours! Somehow it got into all the smoothies … even mine it was all in the same blender …,” Kolibas allegedly wrote.

Kolibas’ wife gave the letter to police shortly after she received it.

Asked if it was possible for Kolibas’ wife to face charges, Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said, “No comment.”

The affidavit also includes details of a conversation between Miranowicz and Kolibas’ first wife. The woman claims Kolibas is the cause of their 24-year-old son’s suicide in 2004. Before his death, the young man allegedly told his mother that Kolibas molested him on numerous occasions when he was a child. Miranowicz said the conversation she had with the first wife was “heartbreaking,” but police have found no evidence that Kolibas sought out young boys.

Kolibas is included on the Florida sex offender registry list from offenses stemming from distributing pornography to an underage female in 1994 and 1995.