Man who kidnapped, raped foreign exchange student in Pacific Beach sentenced

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A career criminal who raped a 21-year-old German exchange student at knifepoint in San Diego then videotaped himself sexually assaulting her was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum 81 years to life in prison.

Jacob Paul Skorniak, 51, was convicted in June of forcible rape, kidnapping for rape and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.

Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox said the attack has left the victim scarred for life.

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"This was a brutal, forceful rape of an innocent victim," the prosecutor told Judge Runston Maino. "This individual (Skorniak) is the worst of the worst."

Fox said the victim was just two blocks away from her home in Pacific Beach when Skorniak kidnapped her, took her to a secluded area, and raped her.

"He (Skorniak) is a serious risk to the community," the prosecutor said, noting that the defendant has prior convictions for bank robbery, assault and escape and has spent much of his life in prison. "This defendant is exactly why we have the three strikes law."

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Maino declined to "strike" one of Skorniak's convictions, thus doubling much of the defendant's sentence.

"I think you're just too dangerous, too violent," the judge said.

Deputy Public Defender Kristin Scogin argued unsuccessfully that the sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment, leaving Skorniak no chance for parole.

"He's not the monster that this trial represented," Scogin said, noting that a methamphetamine addiction had plagued Skorniak for years.

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"When this man is sober, he's quite nice," the defense attorney told the judge.

Fox said the victim went out with three girlfriends the night of Dec. 31, 2015. The four women had dinner and went back to one of their apartments in Pacific Beach, where they had drinks.

The four women then used the Uber ride-hailing service to get to a bar and called for another driver to pick them up about 11:45 p.m., the prosecutor said.

On the way back to Pacific Beach, the victim wasn't feeling well, and her friends decided to go to another bar and were dropped off there by the Uber driver. As the driver approached the apartment in Pacific Beach, he pulled over when the victim started to get sick, but she refused to get back in the car, Fox said.

The next thing the victim knew, she was in the defendant's truck with a knife to her neck, the prosecutor said.

When the defendant was arrested three weeks later in Santa Barbara, police found a video showing the victim being sexually assaulted by Skorniak.

Fox said that during the sexual assault, the victim's phone somehow called her father in Germany, who heard his daughter begging for her life. The father tried to communicate with his daughter, but got no response.

After the sexual assault, Skorniak told the victim he felt bad and had hurt her enough and would take her home, according to the prosecutor.

When officers showed up at the Pacific Beach apartment in response to calls from the victim's father and her friends, they spotted the defendant's truck, but he sped away, Fox said.

A witness got a partial license plate off Skorniak's truck at a nearby gas station and investigators were able to get DNA samples from the victim's genital area and matched that to the defendant's DNA, Fox told the jury.

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