Sex Assault Suspect a Tea Party Leader
Police on Friday announced the arrest of Michael Kobulnicky, spokesman for the San Diego Tea Party, on suspicion of kidnapping a woman and then sexually assaulting her on Fiesta Island last month.
Kobulnicky, 50, was taken into custody about 3:45 p.m. Thursday as he was walking to his Lemon Grove home, said San Diego police Lt. Anastasia Smith. He was being held in the central jail without bail.
The 56-year-old victim had been walking home on Linda Vista Road near Tait Street about 7 p.m. Feb. 25 when a man drove up to her and offered her a ride. She accepted, but he went past her residence and drove to Fiesta Island. The man pulled her out of the car, pinned her down, assaulted her and drove off, police said.
The woman walked to a trolley station and reported the attack to police.
Video surveillance of the suspect before the attack was obtained from a convenience store, the location of which is not being disclosed, Smith said. Police released the video on March 2 and received numerous tips that led them to Kobulnicky, she said.
He was booked into jail on felony counts of kidnapping for purposes of sexual assault, rape by force, and sex with a foreign object. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in San Diego Superior Court.
Smith said Kobulnicky’s occupation is a gardening supervisor.
In a statement Friday night, the leadership team of the San Diego Tea Party, a grass-roots conservative political group, said that Kobulnicky had taken a hiatus from the group in January for personal reasons and had not been in touch with members since then. He has been removed from his position while the legal process runs its course, the statement said.
“Our hearts and our thoughts go out to the victim,” the statement said.
Karen Grube, a tea party member, said Friday night she worked with Kobulnicky on several events and was shocked to learn of his arrest.
Her initial reaction was “this can’t be the same guy,” she said. The tea party is supporting Grube as a candidate for the San Diego Republican. According to his Facebook page, Kobulnicky became engaged to an Arizona woman on March 12 and was to be married on April 7. San Diego Superior Court records show Kobulnicky was named in a divorce case in 2010 and a domestic-violence case in 2008.
Kobulnicky has a website called ‘Michael Kobulnicky USA.’ On it he says he has a master’s degree in business administration and owned a landscape design and construction company. He says he is the founder and president of a nonprofit aimed at helping young people called National Council of Americans, Inc.
The website also describes him as the father of five sons and a public speaker espousing Christian values. He is listed as a former faculty member at California Miramar University and Ashford University in San Diego and an elementary schoolteacher at Val Verde elementary school in Riverside County.