Victim: Ex-Tea Party Spokesman Not Fiesta Island Rapist

Michael Kobulnicky, 50, Charged With Kidnapping For Rape, Forcible Rape

A woman allegedly raped on Fiesta Island by a former spokesman for the San Diego Tea Party stood up in court Monday and told a judge that police arrested the wrong man.

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Michael John Kobulnicky, 50, was charged last week with kidnapping for rape and forcible rape and was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

At a bail review this morning, the alleged victim told Judge Theodore Weathers that Kobulnicky was not the person who raped her.

"This man is not the man at all, and I'll stick with that for as long as I live," said Laura C. in court on Monday.

Kobulnicky's attorneys had said Friday that their client admitted picking up the 56-year-old woman in Linda Vista as she was walking home, then having a consensual encounter of a sexual nature with her on Fiesta Island before he drove away. Kobulnicky is being kept in custody because of evidence linking the victim to his car.

"I've been practicing law for 14 years and I've never heard of anything like this," defense attorney Kerry Armstrong told reporters. "I just told Judge Weathers in chambers this is the most bizarre case I've ever had, ever -- probably ever will have. I just can't explain what's going on. It defies logic."

Kobulnicky, who worked as a landscaper, spotted the woman about 7 p.m. Feb. 25 while driving on Linda Vista Road, pulled over and asked her if she wanted a ride home, SDPD Lt. Anastasia Smith said.

The woman accepted the offer and got into Kobulnicky's vehicle, Smith said. When they reached her residence, however, he kept driving and continued into the Mission Bay area, according to the lieutenant.

After parking on Fiesta Island, the 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pound suspect allegedly pulled the victim out of the vehicle and sexually assaulted her. He then drove off, leaving her behind.

The woman immediately reported the alleged crimes, and investigators gathered evidence, including surveillance video. Six days later, detectives released some of the footage to local news outlets, and the resulting publicity generated "numerous" tips that helped detectives identify Kobulnicky as the alleged assailant, Smith said.

Armstrong said the alleged victim's statements about how Kobulnicky was not the person who raped her have been quieted by police. He charged that the investigation has not been handled properly or fairly.

A spokesman for the District Attorney's Office said the office cannot comment on a pending case except to say they do not file charges unless they believe they can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt. The police department said they stand by their investigation.

Laura C. is also sticking to her story.

"It's really bothering me that they have the wrong man in jail when this other man is running free," she said.

After Monday's hearing, Weathers lowered Kobulnicky's bail to $250,000. The defendant -- scheduled for a preliminary hearing April 3 -- faces life in prison if convicted.

According to his website, the defendant is a former spokesman for the San Diego Tea Party. The organization said in a statement that Kobulnicky took a hiatus in January to prepare for an upcoming wedding.

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