DISH TV repairman faces felony charges for hugging a 70-year-old customer goodbye

Former DISH Network subcontractor David Novinski is facing felony charges for allegedly hugging a customer after finishing work on her television. The woman, Karen Loest, said that the hug was an assault and that she still is living in fear.

Novinski’s attorney Mike McCullough said, “Frankly (this is), one of the strangest cases I’ve ever seen.”

He said, “Upon leaving, he gave her a three-second hug. And then he left.” McCullough said his client is someone who generally gives hugs.

Loest, a 70-year-old former Arapahoe County Sheriff’s deputy, described the incident a bit differently. She said that before leaving, he turned around and put her into a painful bear hug. She feared for her safety, wondering if she was about to be raped, or worse.

It all happened in Elbert County, Colorado, in early April. The work order being completed, Loest walked Novinski to the door. “I walked over to see him out, and he proceeded to turn and put me in a bear hug,” said Loest.

“At that point, I didn’t know whether I was going to be raped … thrown down on the floor. He had me pinned–my arms and chest–and it hurt.”

She told a KDVR reporter that at that point she pushed him away and told him, “You need to leave.”

She said he waited a while, apologizing to her before leaving. He was later arrested for first degree criminal trespass and negligent bodily injury to an at-risk person. Officials explained that the charges are a felony because of the age of the victim.

Loest said she is physically OK at this point but she does not sleep well because, “… he knows where I live.”

McCullough indicated he will fight the felony charges on behalf of Novinski. He said, “I can’t believe that George Brauchler, who is the elected DA in the 18th Judicial District, wants to prosecute people (who) give people a hug.”

A protective order has been issued requiringNovinski to stay away from Loest.

DISH Network issued this statement:

“We take the safety and security of our community very seriously. We are investigating the allegations regarding this individual who is an employee of an independent third party and not of DISH. This individual is no longer assigned to any DISH jobs. We remain in contact with the independent third party contractor and our customer.” – John Hall, DISH Corporate Communications


Video by Fox43

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Victor Rantala

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