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Former Tea Party Spokesman Arrested on Kidnapping, Rape Charges


Michael Kobulnicky

Police in California arrested a former spokesman for the San Diego Tea Party on suspicion of kidnapping and raping a 56-year-old woman.

Michael Kobulnicky, 50, was arrested near his home Thursday afternoon, San Diego police told local NBC affiliate KNSD-TV, and was booked on felony charges including kidnapping, sexual assault and sex with a foreign object.

He remains in jail and will appear in court this week, the Los Angeles Times reported.

According to San Diego Fox affiliate KSWB-TV, Kobulnicky allegedly spotted the woman while he was driving and pulled over and asked if she wanted a ride home. She accepted the offer, but once they reached her home he allegedly kept going and drove to a nearby recreational area known as Fiesta Island. He then allegedly pulled her out of the vehicle and sexually assaulted her before driving off and leaving her behind.

Tea Party spokesman arrested

The woman reported the alleged assault to the police, who released surveillance video to local news outlets. Using tips from the public, detectives identified Kobulnicky as the alleged assailant, San Diego Police Lt. Anastasia Smith told the station.

A statement from the San Diego Tea Party to KNSD said Kobulnicky has been on hiatus from the organization since January for personal reasons. He has been relieved from his duties for the duration of the legal proceedings.

"Our hearts and our thoughts go out to the victim," the statement said.

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