Convicted polygamist and sex offender Sliwinski makes court appearance in Helena

ABC News KRTV, Montana/January 20, 2016

By Matt Witkos - MTN News

Helena -- Thomas Emil Sliwinski, a convicted polygamist and sex offender, is back in court after being on the run from authorities for more than a decade.

Sliwinski, 62 years old, made a court appearance in Lewis & Clark County District Court on Wednesday after evading authorities for nearly 12 years.

Authorities captured the fugitive in Mexico last November.

Sliwinski was convicted in 2004 on a charge of criminal endangerment after marrying his 14 year old step-daughter and fathering six children with her.

That charge was reduced from sexual intercourse without consent in a plea agreement.

According to court documents, Sliwinski also had another child with the victim’s sister.

He is due back in court on February 4th on a petition to revoke his 10-year suspended sentence.

Sliwinski is being held at the Lewis & Clark County Detention Center on a $150,000 bond.

According to the website, FBI agents and Mexican police arrested Sliwinsky in Vicente Guerrro, Mexico, on October 29, 2015.  When authorities closed in on him, Sliwinski ran and stabbed himself.

The FBI provided the following background on the case:

In 2003, Thomas Emil Sliwinski was charged with criminal endangerment for having sex without consent with his young stepdaughter. He pled guilty to this charge and the plea agreement required Sliwinski to attend sex offender treatment. He was also charged with tampering with physical evidence after it was learned that he had destroyed evidence and Sliwinski was convicted of this charge. Sliwinski was given a five-year suspended sentence for both of these convictions.

Sliwinski was later kicked out of his sex offender treatment program. As a result, the Lewis and Clark County Attorney in Montana filed a petition to revoke Sliwinski's probationary sentences. Sliwinski also failed to register as a sex offender. A hearing regarding the petition was to be held on September 2, 2004, but Sliwinski failed to appear.

A warrant for Sliwinski's arrest was issued on September 2, 2004, by the Montana First Judicial Court, Lewis and Clark County, for revocation of his suspended sentences for the underlying felony offenses of criminal endangerment and tampering with physical evidence. A second local arrest warrant for Sliwinski was issued in the same jurisdiction on September 9, 2004, for bail jumping.

On September 13, 2005, a federal arrest warrant charging Sliwinski with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution was issued by the United States District Court, District of Montana, Great Falls, Montana.

At the time the state initiated its prosecution, Sliwinski reportedly practiced polygamy while residing in a remote area between Helena and Great Falls, Montana, where he was "married" to three persons.

- Additional information from Alana Cunningham and David Sherman

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