San Diego

Man Accused in East Village Sex Assault Pleads Not Guilty

Gary Cushinberry, 51, is accused of grabbing and raping a woman on Nov. 5 in the East Village

A man accused of grabbing a woman as she walked to her car in downtown’s East Village, pulling her into some bushes to sexually assault her, pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Gary Cushinberry, 51, was arraigned in a San Diego courtroom on three felonies pertaining to the alleged Nov. 5 attack. He also faces special allegations of committing the crimes while on probation and, if convicted, could be sentenced to a maximum of 21 years behind bars.

A Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle said Cushinberry was convicted of a robbery in San Diego County in 2017, and said the D.A.'s office is also investigating an allegation against him in Indiana.

San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Lt. Jason Weeden said Cushinberry grabbed the victim from behind as she walked along 13th Street, near the San Diego Central Library, before pulling her into some bushes.

Doyle said the victim was doing the best she can and has support from resources within the office, as well as family and friends.

Police publicly released a composite sketch of the suspect shortly after the crime and, through tips and leads, investigators identified Cushinberry as the alleged attacker.

He was arrested on Nov. 16 about five blocks from where the alleged sex assault took place.

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