SAN DIEGO -- Prosecutors dismissed all charges against a former spokesman for the San Diego Tea Party Thursday.
Michael John Kobulnicky, 54, was charged last week with kidnapping for rape and forcible rape. However, the alleged victim appeared at a bail hearing this week and told the judge that Kobulnicky was not the man who raped her. On Wednesday, the woman recanted her story to prosecutors, saying that she was never kidnapped or forcibly raped.
As a result, prosecutors dismissed the charges and released the defendant.
"I didn't commit any crimes," Kobulnicky said after being released from jail, "It's been hell. When people accuse you of terrible things and you know you didn't do anything wrong."
The woman originally told investigators she was kidnapped and raped on Fiesta Island on the evening of Feb. 25. Police investigated and collected evidence, including surveillance video, that appeared to corroborate the woman's story, prosecutors said.
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.
Kobulnicky's attorneys had said that their client admitted picking up the 56-year-old woman in Linda Vista as she was walking home, then having consensual sex with her on Fiesta Island. He faced life in prison had he been convicted on the rape and kidnapping charges.
"Today was a great day, I'm extremely happy. But I'm shook up," explained Kobulnicky.
San Diego Police stood by its investigation Thursday, adding that forensic evidence connects Kobulnicky to the crime. But the department understood the District Attorney's decision given the victim's changing story.
However, that story didn't change when the victim, who asked not to be identified, spoke to Fox 5 News.
Thursday, she described in graphic detail how she was kidnapped, raped and sexually assaulted despite her repeated demands that he stop.
"This man is sick," she described, "I kept telling him to stop. He would not stop."
She said she changed her story because she was scared and "filled with fear". She maintains a crime happened, but she is glad the case is over so she can "move on with my life".
According to his website, Kobulnicky is a former spokesman for the San Diego Tea Party. The organization said in a statement that Kobulnicky took a hiatus in January for to prepare for an upcoming wedding.