Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rape Charges Against Michael Kobulnicky In San Diego Dropped After Victim Recanted Her Story

Good news for Michael Kobulnicky. On March 29th, 2012, prosecutors dismissed all charges against him after the purported victim recanted her story. Kobulnicky had been charged with rape and forcible rape. I just picked up on this development today because I was preoccupied with documenting the just-concluded General Conference.

Kobulnicky, previously identified as a member of the La Mesa Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was arrested near his home in Lemon Grove on March 15th for the alleged kidnapping and assault of a 56-year-old woman who was walking home near Linda Vista Road on Fiesta Island on February 25th. But Kobulnicky pleaded not guilty, insisting it was a consensual encounter, and the case against him soon began to unravel after two acquaintances of the alleged victim came forward and reported conversations in which the woman said she was lying about the attack. The woman allegedly told the pair that she lied about being attacked by Kobulnicky in hopes of getting money and notoriety.

Screenshot of Laura Chiles
Then at Kobulnicky's bail hearing on March 26th, the victim, who eventually identified herself as Laura Chiles, told the judge that Kobulnicky was not the man who raped her. On March 28th, she recanted her story altogether, saying that she was never kidnapped or forcibly raped. As a result, prosecutors dismissed the charges and released the defendant. San Diego Police still stands by its investigation because they maintain that forensic evidence connects Kobulnicky to the crime, but they accept the prosecutor's decision.

In response, Kobulnicky said "I feel great, you guys. 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."

"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." The fact that he admitted to having consensual sex may have dampened his fiancee's enthusiasm for the marriage.

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