SKOWHEGAN — A Lewiston man charged with punching a woman in the face while he forced her to have sex with him is scheduled to enter a plea today in Somerset County Superior Court.

The man, Robert Vicino, 55, is accused of threatening the woman with a flip-up knife before attempting to force her to perform oral sex on him the morning of June 17 in the woman’s Skowhegan apartment, according to a police affidavit.

The court papers state that he reportedly then punched her twice in the face while forcing her to have intercourse.

The woman told Skowhegan Police Detective Kelly Hooper that Vicino dragged her around by her hair, broke her cellphone and squeezed her neck until she was dizzy.

At the time, Vicino was prohibited by a five-year protection order from contacting the woman, according to court documents. The papers do not indicate how the two knew each other. Vicino continues to be held at Somerset County Jail on $250,000 cash bail.

Detective James Ross, an investigator with the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office, found a large black folding knife under the covers of the bed when he searched the woman’s home shortly after the incident was reported, according to the affidavit he filed with the court.

In addition, he wrote that he saw a pry mark on the door that was apparently made with a narrow object, such as a screwdriver, and that it appeared to have been applied with enough force to open the door.

A woman who lived in an adjacent apartment told Ross she was awakened that day by banging and arguing. She also identified Vicino in a photograph and said she had seen him with the woman several times in the previous weeks.

Vicino’s defense attorney, John Alsop, said Vicino was originally charged with violating a protection order, assault, criminal threatening and obstructing the report of a crime or injury. A Somerset County grand jury added a Class B felony charge of gross sexual assault in September.

Court documents show that a judge ordered Vicino to have a psychiatric evaluation. Results would not be made public if one were performed, Alan Kelley, acting district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, said Tuesday.

Vicino is scheduled to enter a plea today, but it’s uncertain if he will.

“In terms of whether it’s going to be a plea or not, I don’t know at this point,” Kelley said. “It’s on the docket for tomorrow, and at this point it would be premature to say anything beyond that.”

Vicino was convicted of assault in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta in May 2007 and March 2009.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]


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