Man admits raping woman repeatedly in Balboa Park

SAN DIEGO -- A Chula Vista man who repeatedly raped a woman at knifepoint during a 2½-hour ordeal near Balboa Park after trying to abduct another woman the same night admitted guilt Monday and faces 55 years to life behind bars.

Ismael Hernandez, Jr., 28, pleaded guilty -- on the day his trial was scheduled to start -- to rape, forcible oral copulation and attempted kidnapping with intent to commit rape. He has an Oct. 20 sentencing date.

Hernandez -- who has a 2012 conviction for robbery -- will also have to register as sex offender for life, said Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian.

One of the victims testified during a preliminary hearing last year that Hernandez came up from behind her as she emerged from a restaurant near Balboa Park with some take-out food about 9:30 p.m. on May 5, 2016.

"I was shocked," the woman said. "He was really close to my face. He said, 'Don't say anything. Don't say anything. Don't say anything."'

"Jane Doe" said she noticed the defendant had a knife in his hand, so she threw her food at his face and ran back into the restaurant, and he took off in another direction.

She said she and her boyfriend drove around and looked for her attacker, but were unable to find him. She said she called police the next day when she watched a news report about a rapist near Balboa Park.

The other victim, Rebecca, testified that she was walking back to her car in the same vicinity near the south end of the park about 9:45 p.m. when Hernandez came around a corner, got in her face and said, "Don't scream."

The woman testified that Hernandez had a knife and told her to be quiet or he would hurt her. She said Hernandez walked her to a nearby area and sexually assaulted her, then moved her to a second location, where he forced sex acts with her again.

After the 2½-hour assault, she said she started to put her clothes back on and Hernandez took off. She said she flagged down a pizza delivery driver and called police.

Rebecca told authorities that she thought her attacker was high on methamphetamine.

She helped police come up with a composite drawing of the suspect, who was arrested after a Crime Stoppers tip.