Smilgis pleads to sexual assault 

Judge rejects heroin plea, rules jail or no deal.

Adam Smilgis pleaded to sufficient facts Wednesday on a sexual assault charge and an unauthorized nude photography charge. — Rich Saltzberg

Adam Smilgis, 41, admitted sufficient facts Wednesday in Edgartown District Court on one count of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 years or older, and one count of photographing sexual or intimate parts of someone without consent. 

Smilgis was sentenced to one year of probation, and the two counts were continued without a finding for one year. Judge Benjamin Barnes ordered Smiglis to stay away from the victim, to continue with a drug treatment program, and to be evaluated for sexual offender counseling. On a separate count of possession with intent to distribute a Class A drug (heroin), Judge Barnes rejected an agreed-upon plea for a suspended sentence, and said Smiglis can either take or leave pleading guilty and receive one year in the Dukes County Jail, 120 days to serve, the balance suspended for one year. Smilgis withdrew his plea on the heroin charge. 

All the charges were brought by West Tisbury Police, and date from 2019. 

Ahead of sentencing, Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Matt Palazzolo gave a synopsis of the what was behind the sexual assault and photography charges. Palazzolo said the victim told West Tisbury Police she was sexually assaulted while staying at Smilgis’ West Tisbury residence — specifically that she was subjected to nonconsensual sexual contact while both sick and asleep, and was also photographed without permission while unclothed. 

Judge Barnes scrutinized a victim impact statement, but did not read aloud from it, nor did the victim. In a brief remark, the victim told the court she did not want what happened to her to happen to anybody else.

John Seed, attorney for Smilgis, told the court his client has suffered from substance abuse disorder, but has been “clean and sober” since the date of the case, and has been undergoing voluntary drug counseling

Ahead of the tender of plea, Palazzolo gave the court a synopsis of what was behind the heroin charge. Palazzolo said in May 2019, police found heroin, a digital scale, and “corner-cut baggies consistent with the distribution of narcotics” in Smilgis’ bedroom. 

As The Times reported in 2019, West Tisbury Police were joined by Edgartown and State Police in their search of a house on Kaeka Lane in West Tisbury. 

“It is a significant amount of heroin; however he has no other previous convictions or charges for distribution,” Palazzolo told the court. “He has been engaged in drug treatment, therefore we’re comfortable asking for a suspended sentence.” 

After the plea withdrawal, Seed switched gears and scheduled a motion to suppress hearing for Feb. 11. 

The victim didn’t request a letter of apology from Smilgis, the court noted. Smilgis didn’t apologize to the victim while in the courtroom. 




  1. One year of probation? And no apology because the victim didn’t request one? For sexual assault on someone under 14…no wonder so many victims remain silent. This is an abomination.

  2. What is wrong with these men in power.
    Jail the turd and let them think everyday about what they did and suffer as the assault / rape victims will have to do for the rest of their lives.
    This is bull crud giving leniency AND SHAME ON THE LAWYER WHO IS REQUESTING THAT.

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