A man with a long criminal history in Indiana, including Bloomington, was arrested in San Diego last month for an alleged sexual assault. He pleaded not guilty to the charge Nov. 20, but could be sentenced to up to 21 years in prison if convicted.
Gary Cushinberry, 51, was accused of attacking a 26-year-old woman on the street late at night and sexually assaulting her in nearby bushes before fleeing. His criminal history in Monroe County includes at least seven convictions for crimes such as battery and sexual battery.
The San Diego District Attorney’s office requested records in Jan. 2014 from a 1995 Monroe County case in which Cushinberry was charged with rape. As part of a plea deal, Cushinberry pleaded guilty to sexual battery.
Bloomington residents might know Cushinberry’s name from his past relationship with the former owner of Siam House restaurant, Wemonrat “Wim” Pok. Pok suffered a severe head injury in Oct. 2008 in Fort Wayne, Indiana that forced her to live in a rehabilitation center until her death in 2013. At the time, Pok was in the process of opening another Siam House restaurant there.
The night of Pok's injury in 2008, Cushinberry was found leaning over her next to a shattered flower pot when an ambulance arrived to the scene. Fort Wayne Police Department investigators suspected Cushinberry was responsible for her injury but he was never charged. He told Fort Wayne police Pok’s high heel had gotten stuck in a sidewalk grate, causing her to fall backwards and hit her head on the ground.
A doctor said Pok’s traumatic injury was not likely caused by a fall, but probably the result of a sudden forceful impact, the Herald-Times reported. “The whole thing was suspicious,” detective Sandon Quate said at the time.
The woman who accused Cushinberry of assaulting her in San Diego testified in open court this week. She said Cushinberry grabbed her from the sidewalk and knocked her down onto a dirty blanket on the ground where he sexually assaulted her.
Cushinberry is being held at the George F. Bailey Detention Facility in San Diego. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 19.
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