Rape charges dismissed against former Tea Party spokesman - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rape charges dismissed against former Tea Party spokesman

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Sexual assault and kidnapping charges were dismissed Thursday against a former spokesman for the San Diego Tea Party, after a woman who accused him of raping her on Fiesta Island recanted her story, prosecutors said.

"When we receive new information that leads us to determine we can no longer prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, we do the right thing and move quickly to dismiss the charges," said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

Michael Kobulnicky, 50, was charged 10 days ago, after the woman claimed he offered her a ride Feb. 25 in Linda Vista, then sexually assaulted her on Fiesta Island.

In an unusual move, Judge Timothy Walsh ordered Kobulnicky's immediate release from the downtown courthouse.

"I feel great, you guys," Kobulnicky told reporters outside court. "It's so great when you tell everybody from the beginning that you're innocent, that you haven't done any crimes, and you're hoping your best friends and your family will believe you, and there's definitely people who stuck by my side.

"Over the past week, so much great evidence came out supporting that I didn't commit any crimes," he said.

"It's been hell," Kobulnicky added. "It's been devastating to me, my fiancee -- I was supposed to get married in a week. I've lost my job. I got fired from the San Diego Community College District. So I'm working to get my job back. I'm shaken up completely. I just wanted to clear my name."

Kobulnicky and his legal team refused to discuss details of the case.

Last Friday, Kobulnicky's attorneys said two acquaintances of the alleged victim came forward and reported conversations in which the woman said she was lying about the sexual assault.

Kobulnicky's attorneys had originally stated there had ben a consensual sexual encounter between their client and the woman. Forensic evidence gathered by San Diego police corroborated that claim, according to the district attorney's office. But on Thursday, Kobulnicky himself contradicted that story.

"First of all, there was no sexual encounter. There was no sexual act," he said.

On Wednesday, for the first time, the alleged victim recanted her original statement and denied that she was kidnapped and forcibly raped by anyone.

Outside court Thursday, defense attorney Kerry Armstrong said the alleged victim had zero credibility and was a chronic liar.

"I'm no psychologist, but I think she has some severe mental issues," Armstrong said. "As mad as I am at her, and as mad as Mr. Kobulnicky must be at her, I'm at least glad that she came forward (Wednesday) and finally told the truth."

Armstrong called the San Diego Police Department's investigation into the alleged rape "pathetic."

Kobulnicky would have faced a possible life sentence if convicted.

 

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