Former Marco city manager behind bars as new details of abuse surface

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Former Marco Island City Manager Lee Niblock is behind bars after a warrant was issued for his arrest Thursday.

Niblock faces charges of sexual battery after an incident involving a school employee.

Police say the victim met Niblock, along with two others, to discuss funding for a children’s baseball field.

During their conversations, she says Niblock made several strange comments about her appearance, even comparing her to a “river dancer” in one of his favorite shows.

His new arrest report says he used a city-issued phone to later contact the victim and ask her to dinner. She thought they’d talk about the baseball field.

Instead, Niblock offered her a job with the city, even going as far as telling her she could be the next city manager.

He then insisted on driving her home for her “safety”. The victim adds that he touched and kissed her against her will at the end of the night.

“There are boundaries that should never be crossed and they don’t have the right to touch a woman or anyone and good for her for standing up,” said Marco Island resident Toni Sim.

After city councilors found out about these allegations, the victim says the city tried to make her sign a resolution agreement and accept an apology. She also says the city council chairman warned her that following up on the allegations would put pressure on her family.

In response, Chairman Jared Grifoni said there was no pressure from the city on the victim, and their actions taken were to protect her privacy.

“It happens all too often and it’s sad that we live in a world like that and a lot of men don’t necessarily know that they are crossing the line so they almost expect it out of women,” said Marco Island resident Paige Smith.

These allegations happen to sound similar to allegations made from before Niblock’s time on Marco Island.

Authorities in Alachua County say that Niblock—who was working there at the time—invited a woman out to dinner while his wife was out of town, offered her a job with the government and touched her inappropriately.

Alachua County fired him just months before Marco Island hired him. He only spent three months on the job in SWFL.

Niblock will make a first appearance in court before a judge Friday.

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