Man convicted of kidnapping and raping German exchange student on New Year’s Eve

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A Colorado man was convicted Thursday of kidnapping a a 21-year-old German exchange student in Pacific Beach on New Year’s Eve and raping her in his truck at knifepoint.

Jacob Paul Skorniak was found guilty of forcible rape, kidnapping for ape and sexual penetration of an unconscious person. The defendant, who has prior convictions for burglary, robbery and escape, faces a maximum of 81 years to life in prison.

Judge Runston Maino will hear a trial on the priors July 12 before sentencing the 51-year-old defendant.

Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox said the victim — who did not testify in the trial — went out with three girlfriends the night of Dec. 31, 2015. The four women had dinner and went back to one of their apartments in Pacific Beach, where they had drinks, she said.

The four then used the Uber ridehailing service to get to a bar and called for another Uber driver to pick them up about 11:45 p.m., the prosecutor said.

On the way back to Pacific Beach, the victim wasn’t feeling well, and her friends decided to go to another bar and were dropped off there by the Uber driver, according to Fox. As the Uber driver approached the apartment in Pacific Beach, he pulled over when the victim started to get sick, but she refused to get back in the car, Fox said.

The next thing the victim knew, she was in the defendant’s truck with a knife to her neck, the prosecutor said.

When the defendant was arrested three weeks later in Santa Barbara, police found a video showing the victim being sexually assaulted by Skorniak,
according to Fox.

Fox said that during the sexual assault, the victim’s phone somehow called her father in Germany, who heard his daughter begging for her life. The father tried to communicate with his daughter, but got no response, Fox said.

After the sexual assault, Skorniak told the victim he felt bad and had hurt her enough and would take her home, according to the prosecutor.

When officers showed up at the Pacific Beach apartment in response to calls from the young woman’s father and her friends when they arrived home, they spotted the defendant’s truck, but he sped away, Fox said.

A witness got a partial license plate off Skorniak’s truck at a nearby gas station, the prosecutor said.

Investigators were able to get DNA samples from the victim’s genital area and matched that to the defendant’s DNA, Fox told the jury.

Deputy Public Defender Kristin Scogin said the victim had a lot to drink that night and was in an alcohol-induced blackout. Scoggin said the victim and the defendant spent 3 1/2 hours together, but she only remembered a fraction of it.

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