Homeless man pleads not guilty to East Village sex assault

Police released a sketch of a man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in the East Village on the evening of Nov. 5

SAN DIEGO — A homeless man who allegedly overpowered a woman in the East Village, dragged her into some bushes and sexually assaulted her before running away pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three felony charges, including assault with intent to commit rape.

Gary Ryan Cushinberry, 51, who is on felony probation for robbery and failing to appear in court, was ordered held without bail.

Late on the evening of Nov. 5, Cushinberry allegedly grabbed a 26-year old pedestrian walking by herself in the 400 block of 13th Street, pulled her off the sidewalk and assaulted her before fleeing.

Detectives identified Cushinberry — a recent transplant from Indiana who has been living on the streets of San Diego — as the alleged perpetrator by means of “several tips and leads,” Lt. Jason Weeden said.

Cushinberry was arrested last Friday about 6:45 a.m. in the 200 block of 17th Street.

When Judge Jay Bloom ordered the defendant to stay away from the alleged victim, Cushinberry said “I don’t know the woman,” according to Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle.

The prosecutor said Cushinberry has a criminal past from Indiana that is still being looked into.

Cushinberry — who is also charged with two counts of digital penetration by a foreign object, faces 21 years in prison if convicted, Doyle said.

A readiness conference was set for Dec. 3 and a preliminary hearing for Dec. 5.