Man Convicted of Violently Raping German Tourist at Knifepoint on New Year's Eve

The 21-year-old German tourist was out with friends in San Diego's Pacific Beach neighborhood just before the violent assault.

A San Diego jury has convicted a Colorado man of violently raping a German tourist at knifepoint on New Year's Eve in Pacific Beach

Jacob Skorniak, 49, was convicted of forcible rape and kidnap for rape, with allegations that he used a knife during the rape and moved the victim to a place of increased harm. The jury found all allegations to be true. 

The 21-year-old German victim was spending New Year's Eve with friends on Dec. 31, 2015, when she encountered Skorniak. She was just returning to her Pacific Beach place when she first saw him. 

She got out of her taxi, and the next thing she remembers is riding in Skorniak’s truck as he held her at knifepoint.

"She said one of the first things she recalled was seeing a person with a knife in his hand holding the steering wheel," testified San Diego Police Department Sargent Rich Forsey.

DiTillio said Skorniak pulled down a dark street, parked and used the knife to tear off some of the victim’s clothes.

He then forcibly raped her as she begged him not to hurt her. As the assault was happening, the German victim pocket dialed her father in Germany, who heard a portion of the assault on the live phone line. 

"He said he heard (the victim) say something to the effect of, 'Take what you want, leave me alive,'" Forsey testified. "She said it a couple of times, she was distressed. He heard a lot of sounds like she was being assaulted."

That family member called police while Skorniak drove to a gas station, where he was seen on surveillance video paying for gas inside.

DiTillio said the victim was too scared to run, but she motioned to someone at the gas station, indicating that she was in danger.

The bystander wrote down the truck’s license plate number, which was registered to Skorniak’s father. The truck was in Skorniak’s possession at the time, according to DiTillio.

Skorniak then drove the victim back to the area of her home, but soon saw police surrounding the house, investigating the relative’s call. Skorniak continued to drive away with the victim still in the truck.

The victim was finally able to convince the suspect to release her, and he dropped her off several blocks from her home. Her clothing ripped from the knife Skorniak used to cut them, she ran to police. 

After getting the victim's description of the suspect and his truck, investigators identified the rape suspect as Skorniak. A statewide manhunt ensued, and Skorniak was arrested on Jan. 22, 2015 in Santa Barbara, with the same truck in his possession.

Forsey testified that at the time of his arrest, memory cards were found inside Skorniak’s truck. On one, there were travel shots and pictures of girls in bikinis on San Diego beaches. On another, there was a short video. Forsey says it shows a woman being sexually assaulted.

“Then the image panned up and showed the female was not wearing any upper clothing, her breasts were exposed,” Forsey said. “It appeared to be (the victim)…She seemed like she was pretty much passed out. She was moaning, but pretty much passed out.”

Investigating Officer Forsey testified that the victim identified Skorniak in a photo lineup.

According to police, Skorniak, a Colorado resident, has served two decades in prison for robbing a bank in Colorado and was on federal parole at the time of the alleged rape. DiTillio said his criminal history dates back to the 1980s, including burglary with an escape and a robbery in 1995.

A sentencing will be set for a later date. He could face 65 years to life. 

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