Molestation suspect arraigned on another charge (2/25/10)

Kolibas deemed competent to stand trial

Feb. 25, 2010

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The Williston man accused of drugging and molesting a 13-year-old girl was arraigned Tuesday on another charge in the case.


    Courtesy photo by Glenn Russell
Robert Kolibas walks into court on Tuesday.

Prosecutors charged Robert Kolibas, 51, with a felony count of unlawful restraint against the alleged victim. A judge tossed out a previous charge of unlawful restraint last month.

Kolibas appeared in Vermont District Court in Burlington on Tuesday morning and entered a plea of not guilty. The arraignment was twice delayed this month due to Kolibas’ hospitalization for self-inflicted wounds.

Kolibas is also facing four other felony charges, including lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, giving a drug to a minor and two counts of aggravated assault by administering a drug. Prosecutors allege Kolibas drugged his daughter and her friend by giving them sedative-laced “smoothie” drinks before molesting the friend during a sleepover at his home in May 2009.

In the new charge, prosecutors allege Kolibas restrained the then 13-year-old girl by giving her sedative medications without her consent, specifically Diazepam and Ambien. If convicted of the new charge, Kolibas faces five years in prison and a $25,000 fine. He’s already facing a possible 30-year sentence if convicted of the other felonies.

The previous unlawful restraint charge alleged that Kolibas, during the molestation, held down the alleged victim’s legs so she wouldn’t wake his daughter sleeping in the same bed. Judge Michael Kupersmith dismissed the count after Kolibas’ lawyers challenged the charge.

In his decision, Kupersmith said Kolibas’ alleged restricting of the girl’s legs did not meet the legal definition of unlawful restraint. In regards to the new charge, one of Kolibas’ lawyers, Leroy Yoder, said the defense plans to file another motion to dismiss sometime this week. A hearing will likely be scheduled in the future for the dismissal motion.

Also Tuesday, Kolibas’ public defenders decided not to challenge the results of his competency evaluation. At a previous court hearing on Feb. 18, prosecutors released the results of a psychiatric evaluation, which found Kolibas competent to stand trial.

Earlier this month, Kolibas was hospitalized and briefly spent time at the state’s inmate hospital in Springfield, where he underwent the evaluation.

Yoder said Tuesday he did not agree with all statements in the full report, but agreed with the conclusion.

“So you believe (Kolibas) is competent to stand trial?” Kupersmith asked.

“That is correct,” Yoder replied.

Kupersmith sealed the results of the competency evaluation, performed Dr. Robert Linder.

A trial, expected to last one week, is still scheduled to begin March 23. Deputy State’s Attorney Susan Hardin said the alleged victim, Kolibas’ daughter and his wife are expected to testify. Hardin remained uncertain as to whether a plea deal could be reached beforehand.

“You’re guess is as good as mine,” Hardin said.