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'Monster in orange' sent away for molesting Oak Harbor youth
A teenager who endured a decade of sexual abuse at the hands of his stepfather told his story during a dramatic sentencing hearing in Island County Superior Court last Thursday.
At the end, the judge sent 30-year-old Anthony Polubinski, a Cub Scout leader in Oak Harbor, away for a minimum of 15 years in prison. Polubinski pleaded guilty to child molestation in the first degree, child molestation in the second degree, child rape in the third degree, indecent liberties, possession of child pornography and intimidating a witness.
The 18-year-old victim spoke candidly about the sexual abuse in front of a courtroom of friends and family. He described how he craved a father figure as a youngster and was at first excited to have a stepfather in his life, but then Polubinski started sexually assaulting him when he was just 8 years old.
“I trusted him to be there for me,” the 18-year-old man said. “I trusted him to be the one in my life who was going to be my father figure ... but he betrayed that trust. Destroyed it completely and now I can’t trust anyone in my life completely.”
He described how Polubinski used threats, punishments and physical force against him. Polubinski told him not to tell anyone, or it would rip the family apart and his mother would kill herself.
“My mother was my whole world,” the victim said. The News-Times does not name victims of sexual violence without their permission.
The young man escaped from his home after high school, but decided to come forward out of concern for his little brother; the boy is the same age he was when the assaults began.
In her statement to the court, the victim’s grandmother castigated Polubinski for putting her grandson through hell. She said he convinced everyone that the boy was a problem child so that he was isolated and no one would listen to him.
“You will never ever be in my life again,” she told Polubinski. “When I look at you I no longer see Tony, the son-in-law that I treated like a son. I only see the man who raped my grandson on a regular basis.”
The victim’s stepmother described Polubinski as a “monster in orange.” She spoke about how the victim’s mother kept him away from his father during the years that Polubinski was assaulting him. She said some of the victim’s family members don’t believe the accusations, even with photographic evidence.
“The man is a monster and I don’t care if you are related to him or not,” she said.
In an unusual exchange, the judge interrupted Polubinski’s father as he questioned why the victim didn’t tell anyone earlier that he was being abused.
“Sir, do you have any idea the pressure and the psychological burden that would be on a young person like (the victim) to have to bring himself to do that?” Alan Hancock asked.
Before sentencing, Polubinski apologized to the young man and urged him to stay in contact with his mother and brother.
“Know that even though I can never be a part of your life anymore or contact you in any way, I still care about you and wish you a happy life and will continue to pray for that for you,” he said.
After a break to consider the statements, Hancock handed Polubinski an indeterminate sentence of 15 years to life in prison, which was six months longer than the agreed recommendation. Polubinski will have to serve the minimum 15-year sentence, then a review board will decide whether he should be released.
If he’s released, Polubinski will have to register as a sex offender and remain under the supervision of the Department of Corrections for life.
Hancock also stressed that the evidence is clear that Polubinski was guilty of heinous acts. Detectives seized his computer, which contained pornographic images of the victim and other boys.
In an interview with the Department of Corrections, Polubinski admitted to molesting and raping the victim, though he downplayed the violence. He said he photographed and videotaped the boy in seven photo sessions over the years. He also admitted to molesting a different teenager and holding “photo sessions” with two other boys.
Judge Hancock thanked the young man numerous times for his courage in coming forward to put the man responsible for horrendous torments behind bars.
“He saved his little brother, in all probability, from crimes like these,” the judge said.
Hancock read part of the victim’s impact statement under the section pertaining to restitution. Under loss, the young man wrote “my childhood.” Under value, he wrote “priceless and irreplaceable.”
“That pretty well sums it up,” the judge said.