Man accused of molesting, drugging teen (6/4/09)

Williston suspect fled to Maine

June 4, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

A Williston man has been arrested in connection with an alleged sexual molestation and drugging incident involving a 13-year-old girl over the weekend.

Robert J. Kolibas, 50, was arrested Monday in Maine on a warrant from Vermont District Court after he fled the state on Sunday.

Kolibas is charged with lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, second degree unlawful restraint and delivering a drug to a minor. If convicted, Kolibas could receive a 20-year maximum prison sentence and a $30,000 fine, according to Justin Jiron, the Chittenden County deputy state’s attorney. At minimum, Kolibas could face two years in prison if convicted, Jiron said.

“These are pretty serious crimes,” Jiron said.

According to Detective Diana Miranowicz from the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations, Kolibas was arrested in Washington County, Maine, less than 30 miles from the Canadian border. Miranowicz did not know if Kolibas had been trying to flee the country. As of press deadline, he was being held in jail on $50,000 bail in Machias, Maine awaiting extradition.

Kolibas, a married father of four, is registered as a sex offender in Florida. In 1995, Kolibas was convicted on a felony charge of providing obscene material to a minor. More details about the conviction could not be obtained by press deadline.

Police said Kolibas and his family have lived in Williston for five years after moving from New Jersey. Miranowicz said the Florida conviction is not an offense that required Kolibas to register in Vermont as a sex offender.

Allegations of abuse during sleepover

According to a police affidavit describing the weekend incident, Kolibas molested the teenage girl, a friend of his daughter, during a sleepover at his home. The incident allegedly took place in the early morning hours on Saturday. The alleged victim told police she awoke to find Kolibas standing over her and molesting her. She was sleeping in a bed next to Kolibas’ daughter in the girl’s room. The alleged victim told police she tried to wake her friend, but Kolibas was holding her legs so she couldn’t move.

The girl was unsure how long the incident lasted, the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, the girl also believes Kolibas was taking pictures during the assault. She told police she saw flashes that may have come from a camera.

After the alleged assault, the girl told police, Kolibas apologized and asked her not to tell anyone about what had happened. According to the affidavit, once Kolibas left the room, the girl called her parents and told them to pick her up at the house. She then woke Kolibas’ daughter, but did not tell her what happened.

When the alleged victim’s mother arrived, her daughter spoke about the incident. The mother confronted Kolibas, who allegedly denied any such incident. The mother then asked if Kolibas’ son could have been involved, but later learned the teen was not at the home that night.

After the confrontation with Kolibas, the mother drove her daughter to the Williston Police Department to report the incident.

During the subsequent investigation, the girl told police that Kolibas gave her and his daughter a smoothie drink that she thought tasted funny. The affidavit states the teen felt dizzy, and that both girls fell asleep watching a movie.

After speaking with police, the alleged victim’s mother brought her daughter to Fletcher Allen Health Care for a urine test, according to the affidavit. The test came back positive for Benzodiazepine, a sedative similar to Valium and Lorazapam. The girl told the nurse who administered the test that she was not on any medications, according to the affidavit.

Police investigate

Saturday afternoon, according to the affidavit, Kolibas gave police consent to search his home. Police confiscated six empty prescription medicine bottles, three cameras and five computers, including a laptop, and other items. According to the affidavit, one camera was unaccounted for.

Also according to the affidavit, Miranowicz said that while speaking to the suspect during the search, “Kolibas looked at me and said that he should have known that something like this was going to happen. They should have never allowed sleepovers.”

Kolibas’ daughter also told investigators she did not feel right after drinking the smoothie. According to the affidavit, it was not the first time the daughter had felt strange after drinking one of her father’s smoothies. Kolibas’ wife took the couple’s daughter to Fletcher Allen Health Care for a drug test, but the girl’s urine showed no traces of any drugs, according to the affidavit. The test was administered at least 17 hours after the girl drank the smoothie.

On the afternoon of Sunday, May 31, Kolibas fled the state, sending a text message to his oldest daughter to say he believed the police would find a reason to arrest him. He said he was going to Minnesota to visit a grandson he rarely sees. Kolibas’ wife contacted police with the information, and they sent a description of Kolibas’ vehicle to law enforcement agencies across Vermont and nearby states. He was apprehended in Maine on Monday.

“It might have been a ruse,” Miranowicz said in regards to Kolibas’ statement about going to Minnesota. “Sometimes you never really know what (an individual’s) plans are.”

Acting Williston Police Chief Bart Chamberlain said after Kolibas’ extradition hearing, an officer will be sent to Maine to retrieve him. Kolibas could be arraigned in Vermont District Court in Burlington by the end of this week or early next week.

Miranowicz said she’s in the process of obtaining a search warrant for Kolibas’ cameras and computers. She said results from the searches could “take a while.”

Miranowicz said investigators are exploring the possibility that similar incidents may have occurred at the home.

“There have been other girls who have slept over at the residence,” she said.