Sunday, March 25, 2012

Michael Kobulnicky Claims Sex Between Him And His "Victim" Was Consensual; Accuser May Be Mentally Unstable

Update April 5th: On March 29th, all charges against Michael Kobulnicky were dropped after the victim recanted her story; updated post HERE.

Speculation is rapidly mounting that Michael Kobulnicky is being falsely accused of rape by a woman who might be mentally unstable. According to UTSanDiego, Kobulnicky said through his attorneys that his so-called "victim" was a hitchhiker he picked up in Linda Vista and the two had a consensual sexual encounter. Nevertheless, the felony charges of rape, kidnapping for rape and rape by a foreign object remain in place; Kobulnicky has pleaded not guilty.

Kobulnicky told his attorneys that he did pick up the 56-year-old woman, who was walking home on Linda Vista Road near Tait Street about 7 p.m on February 25th, 2012. He said there was a consensual encounter on Fiesta Island, and then he drove away. In addition, attorney Heather Melone said that two acquaintances of the alleged victim have come forward and reported conversations in which the woman said she was lying about the attack. Although the two acquaintances do not personally know Kobulnicky, they have known the alleged victim for a couple of years. She apparently told the pair that she lied about being attacked by Kobulnicky on February 25th in hopes of getting money and notoriety. There are supposedly cell phone recordings to back up this story. Kerry Armstrong is the other defense attorney in the case, and Armstrong says the two acquaintances identified the "victim" as a prostitute. In a video-only report, KUSI reveals that the victim has since entered a mental health facility; video embedded below (admission comes at the 2:32 mark):

Of course, it is not unheard of for an accused rapist to exercise every possible strategem to blacken the reputation of his accuser. On the other hand, it is also not unheard of for a woman to falsely charge a man with rape, as the infamous Duke rape case illustrated. What prompts me to lean towards Kobulnicky's account of events is his public admission of fornication; because he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a public admission of fornication could trigger a disciplinary council by his stake president, with possible penalties of formal probation or disfellowshipment (excommunication would be more likely if it was adultery). NBC San Diego still erroneously refers to Kobulnicky as a "Mormon Church leader"; it was previously established that he was a Primary teacher. A leader in the LDS Church is customarily defined as one in charge of a stake, ward, branch, priesthood quorum, or auxiliary such as Relief Society.

To further complicate the case, a woman claiming to be the victim has contacted news outlets and others saying that police have arrested the wrong man. Defense attorneys said one of the woman’s acquaintances tried to tell the case detective about the reports of fabrication on Tuesday March 20th, but the detective has not returned her call. The local district attorney does not comment on cases in progress, but Kobulnicky's next court hearing is scheduled for March 26th to review the $500,000 bail requirement. KSWB Channel 5 reports that a defense fund for Kobulnicky has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank.

Comments to the story reveal additional information. Deb Ekhaml writes that "this alleged victim also just checked herself into a mental facility, most likely to avoid potential prosecution for her increasingly apparent lie". If this is true, this should be enough to throw the case out altogether. Marissa Burdge writes "I did find it very very ODD that she would walk from Fiesta Island all the way to a trolley station... without stopping at the many shops on the way to ask for help. Not to mention there's cops patrolling the area of Fiesta Island, and not to mention that there's usually people on that island enjoying a bonfire.. why didn't she go to them for help?"

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