SAN DIEGO — A homeless man who knocked a woman to the ground in order to sexually assault her as she walked to her car in the East Village pleaded guilty Friday to a single count of assault with intent to commit rape.
Gary Ryan Cushinberry, 51, is slated to be sentenced to 10 years in prison on Aug. 5 for assaulting the 26-year-old victim last fall. Jury selection wrapped up Friday afternoon for Cushinberry’s upcoming trial when he changed his plea, according to Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle.
Two counts of digital penetration by a foreign object were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Cushinberry was on felony probation for robbery and failing to appear in court when he attacked the woman in the early morning hours of Nov. 6 near the intersection of 13th Street and Island Avenue, according to prosecutors.
The victim testified at the defendant’s preliminary hearing that she had just left a brewery around 12:30 a.m. when she was pulled down next to her car and sexually assaulted.
“I just froze,” the woman testified. While on the ground, she said she saw people walking by but didn’t scream.
She said at some point her attacker got up, and she ran back to the brewery where she had been earlier and said she needed help.
A San Diego police officer testified that the victim was “shaken, distraught and upset” when he arrived on the scene.
Detectives identified Cushinberry — a recent transplant from Indiana who has been living on the streets of San Diego — as the perpetrator by means of “several tips and leads,” Lt. Jason Weeden said.
Cushinberry was arrested Nov. 14 about 6:45 a.m. in the 200 block of 17th Street.