Sex Assault Suspect Volunteers with Women, Kids: Attorney

The former Tea Party spokesperson and Mormon Church leader is in custody accused of sex assault

New information tonight about a man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman on Fiesta Island.

Michael Kobulnicky, 51, is a Mormon Church leader who once volunteered for a recovery program for sexually-exploited women.

He belongs to the Latter Day Saints ward in La Mesa where he was a leader, teaching young children the Book of Mormon according to his attorney Heather Melone.

Now, he’s facing charges that he kidnapping a 56-year-old woman from Linda Vista and assaulted her on Fiesta Island on on Saturday, Feb 25.

Ed. Note: Charges against Kobulnicky have since been dropped. Click here for an update to this story.

“He is scared. He's feeling hopeless that he's in this position,” said Melone.

San Diego police released images from a store surveillance camera of the man believed to be involved in the abduction and sexual assault.

Those images led to Kobulnicky’s arrest on March 15. 

Everyone Melone has talked to has said the allegations are extremely out of character for her client.

“When you're dealing with a person that is completely devoid of any criminal convictions, that has done so many good things in his life, he should be presumed innocent until proven guilty,” said Melone.

She said her client valued giving back to the community and on one occasion volunteered with a large group at GenerateHope, a recovery program for sexually-exploited women.

The organization told NBCSanDiego that Kobulnicky helped renovate the facility but nothing more.

“Otherwise we have no connection with him and would not consider him a GenerateHope volunteer,” said GenerateHope Executive Director Susan Munsey. “My heart goes out to the woman who was assaulted."

At one time, Kobulnicky served as a spokesperson for the San Diego Tea Party. His political website was still active Tuesday.

A statement from the San Diego Tea Party said Kobulnicky has been on hiatus since January for personal reasons and has been relieved from his Tea Party duties during legal proceedings.

Kobulnicky is due back in court March 26. He’s being held on $500,000 bond. 

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