Crime & Courts

Algonquin man found guilty of decades-old sex abuse charges

Man guilty on six of seven counts, judge rules

Robert J. Libricz
Robert J. Libricz

An Algonquin man was led from the courtroom in handcuffs Wednesday after a judge found him guilty of sexually abusing and raping a juvenile female relative over a span of 11 years in the 1990s.

McHenry County Judge James Cowlin found 58-year-old Robert J. Libricz guilty of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, aggravated criminal sexual assault of a child, predatory criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual assault.

Defense attorney William Bligh said Libricz will appeal the convictions.

Cowlin found Libricz not guilty of the earliest alleged instance of abuse, which stemmed from a period between 1987 and 1989. The woman’s testimony about the alleged abuse years later was not enough to prove that Libricz committed a physical act, Cowlin said.

McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein declined to comment on the judge’s verdicts.

Cowlin announced the decision about three weeks after a trial by judge that went Nov. 2 to 5.

Defense attorney Matthew Haiduk previously had asked the judge to declare a mistrial, claiming the prosecutors asked misleading questions when Libricz was on the stand.

Cowlin denied the request, however, and on Wednesday said that Libricz made inculpatory statements during a separate, secretly recorded conversation with the victim.

During the conversation, Libricz asked the woman, “How do I explain this to your mother?” and said, “I never meant to hurt you.”

The alleged sexual abuse and rape took place at Libricz’s home in the 4700 block of Iroquois Drive, prosecutors said. One of Libricz’s daughters, who the alleged victim claimed once caught him in the act, testified she never witnessed anything inappropriate.

Cowlin disregarded the woman’s testimony, however, calling it “angry and belligerent.”

Charges pertaining to a second alleged victim, whom Libricz is accused of abusing between 1999 and 2006, could be dealt with at a separate trial.

Although the women didn’t go to police with the accusations until 2015, prosecutors proved that the alleged crimes fell within the statute of limitations each time the law changed.

Attorneys will discuss possible sentencing ranges at a Dec. 19 court date.

Cowlin is expected to deliver a sentence Jan. 31.

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