Sunday, May 27, 2018
Public safety

Some charges dropped against former Tarpon Springs officer accused of rape

Several charges have been dropped against a former police officer accused of twice picking up women on Clearwater streets, flashing a badge and raping them, court records show, but other criminal charges remain.

Larry Kobielnik, a former Tarpon Springs officer, was arrested July 27, accused of threatening a woman with a badge and firearm and raping her in his Dunedin home the day before, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

Days later, another woman who saw Kobielnik's photo in the news identified him as her attacker. On May 13, a man picked her up near S Hillcrest Avenue near Clearwater, told her he was an officer, then handcuffed and raped her, the Sheriff's Office said.

But charges in that offense were dropped after the victim told inconsistent stories, according to court documents released to the Tampa Bay Times.

The woman reported the rape June 1 when she was hospitalized for abdominal pain. She told a deputy her attacker had showed her an oval-shaped badge.

But when a prosecutor interviewed her in August, she said a badge was sitting atop the dining room table in Kobielnik's home. When asked to describe the badge, the woman admitted she never saw it. "She stated that all she saw was a folded wallet," records state, "but she never opened it or saw a badge."

Charges of sexual battery, kidnapping, and impersonation of an officer related to the May 13 offense were dropped in August.

But charges in the July case remain, including sexual battery and impersonation of an officer.

In 2002, Kobielnik was also suspected of a similar crime in Tarpon Springs when a woman accused him of raping her behind an office building. But with no DNA evidence, prosecutors declined to file charges.

Kobielnik, 37, was an officer for the Transportation Security Administration, but was fired after his arrest. He also was a Tarpon Springs police officer from April 2000 to May 2001.

He remained at the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday in lieu of $110,000 bail.

Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] or (727)445-4157.

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