The convicted rapist of a German exchange student in Pacific Beach was sentenced Tuesday to 81 years to life in state prison.
The state’s 1-strike rape law was imposed against Jacob Paul Skorniak, 51, which resulted in a term of 50 years to life that will start after he first serves 31 years, in the calculation by San Diego Superior Court Judge Runston Maino.
“He will not be able to get out. He’ll die in prison,” said Maino. “This defendant is a career criminal.”
The 20-year-old woman was a student at San Diego State University when she became intoxicated on New Year’s Eve, 2015, and took an Uber ride home after going to bars with friends in Pacific Beach.
She was kidnapped after she got out of the car about two blocks from her apartment. She was raped in the pick-up truck driven by Skorniak and later returned to the Pacific Beach area where she lived.
She was so traumatized that she returned to Germany within days and did not testify in any of the legal proceedings against Skorniak.
“She moved on. She didn’t want to re-live it,” said Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox, who added she will notify the victim of the sentence in e-mail.
“This is something that will forever impact her,” said Fox to the judge.
Police officers who spoke with the victim and her friends testified at the trial about what she said of the incident. Her cell phone accidentally called her parents in Germany during the assault and her father testified at the trial.
A jury of seven men and five women convicted Skorniak June 15 of rape at knifepoint, kidnapping for rape, and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.
Skorniak was arrested Jan. 21, 2016 in Santa Barbara after surveillance camera footage was released of his truck at a gas station. Skorniak recorded some of the sexual assault on his cell phone, which was recovered and used as evidence against him. Parts of her clothing which were cut off her with a knife were found in the truck.
Maino said he recalled Skorniak testifying he put his knife down to start video taping the assault. Skorniak said the sex acts were consensual. He did not say anything Tuesday at his sentencing.
“He’s not the monster this trial has presented,” said his attorney, Kristin Scogin. “When this man is sober, he’s quite nice. He’s a model prisoner.”
Scogin argued unsuccessfully that Skorniak be sentenced for rape only and not receive consecutive terms, saying all of it was “one sexual act.”
Maino and Fox disagreed. Maino imposed 10 years for rape, 16 years for aggravated kidnapping for rape plus five years consecutively for Skorniak’s prior conviction for bank robbery in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Then Maino imposed 50 years to life consecutively as part of the state’s 1-strike rape law.
“You are too dangerous. These acts are too violent,” said Maino.
The judge ordered Skorniak to pay $1,250 for the rape SART exam and fined him $3,000. He received credit for 794 days in jail and was ordered to register as a sex offender.
Skorniak’s attorney asked the judge to recommend that Skorniak be housed away from any San Diego County prison, saying everyone in the jail knew about his case.