Man accused of assaulting two girls is charged in rape of 7-year-old Judge orders him held in lieu of $50,000 bond


A Mount Airy man accused of sexually assaulting two neighborhood girls last month after luring them into his home with lollipops has been arrested on charges of raping and molesting another girl.

Robert E. Tibbits, 63, posted $15,000 bail Dec. 1 after his arrest last month on charges involving an 11-year-old girl and a 7-year-old girl, court records show. The Sun does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.

Tibbits was arrested late Wednesday on the most recent charges involving a 7-year-old girl. He is charged with second-degree rape, attempted second-degree rape, a second-degree sexual offense, two counts of third-degree sexual offense and second-degree assault, court records show.

Bail review

The alleged incidents in both cases occurred between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, according to charging documents.

At a bail review hearing yesterday, Tracy A. Gilmore, deputy state's attorney for Carroll County, asked that Tibbits' bail be set at $50,000.

She argued that Tibbits was previously convicted of sexual offenses involving young girls in 1980. She said he was sentenced to 18 months in jail on the 1980 charges.

After learning that arresting officers reported hearing Tibbits say he would have fled if he had known police were en route, Judge James N. Vaughan ordered that Tibbits be held at the Carroll County Detention Center in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Trial on Dec. 23

In charges filed last month, Tibbits is accused of third- and fourth-degree sexual offenses, second-degree assaults, perverted sex practices and indecent exposure, court records show.

A trial date of Dec. 23 has been set for Tibbits to answer those charges.

The girls knew Tibbits as "Mr. Bob," according to court documents, and Gilmore referred to him as "the lollipop man."

Preventive measures

Lawrence E. Faries, coordinator of school security for Carroll County, said teachers and Drug Abuse Resistance Education officers routinely warn young children to be wary of strangers and others who offer candy as an enticement to accompany them.

Thomasina Piercy, principal at Mount Airy Elementary School, said students are made aware of "stranger danger" issues as early as kindergarten, but noted that the alleged offenses referred to by a reporter did not involve a stranger.

FTC Parents routinely are encouraged to discuss awareness issues with younger children, reinforcing what is taught in the classroom by teachers and DARE officers, said Barry Gelsinger, director of curriculum and staff development.

Pub Date: 12/11/98

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