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Tribune president, wife hear questions about alleged rape

Published Oct. 13, 2005

Police on Tuesday questioned Tampa Tribune president James F. Urbanski and his wife, Ann, regarding a reported gang-rape at their south Tampa home in April. Also Tuesday, investigators revealed that last month they seized the alleged victim's driver's license from the apartment of a young man who had been at the Urbanski home during the reported assault. The Urbanskis were not at home the weekend of the April 27 alleged attack.

A detective's sworn statement, also made public Tuesday, stated that the Clearwater woman awoke at the home with a man on top of her, and that he had sexual intercourse with her without her consent. The initial police report indicated the woman awoke because she was cold, and she was not sure whether she'd had any sexual contact while asleep.

The Urbanskis appeared at the Tampa Police Department with

their attorneys about 8:20 a.m. in response to subpoenas.

Robert Polli, attorney for the Urbanskis, said they each were interviewed for about one hour. He said it is "funny that the state would try to interject itself into that parent-child relationship." The couple's son, Mark Urbanski, 24, was home that morning.

Special prosecutor Jerry Hill, present for Tuesday's questioning, said the Urbanskis "were extremely cooperative, very candid."

Hill estimated it would be another two to four weeks before he decides whether to charge any or all of the five young men who were at the Urbanski home. The 21-year-old woman said she was gang-raped there.

Hill, who is Polk County state attorney, said he and detectives interviewed four people Tuesday but would not identify the other two.

One appeared to be Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Michael Rossi, who left the Police Department shortly ahead of Hill.

Officials in the state attorney's office said Rossi was acquainted with the Clearwater woman, and she told him about the alleged rape a day later. Because Rossi would be a witness if charges are brought, Hillsborough State Attorney Bill James asked that a special prosecutor be appointed to avoid the appearance of any conflict.

Later Tuesday, officials filed a copy of the search warrant served May 26 at the Tampa apartment of Carl John Allison.

Records reveal that police seized the driver's license of the woman from Allison's apartment after a friend of Allison's, John Algernon Holmes, told police that he had seen the license during two visits to the apartment in May. During one of the visits, the license was in a hidden compartment above Allison's stove, according to the record.

Allison's attorney, Frank Vaccaro, said he did not know Allison, 26, had the woman's license until police seized it during the search. Vaccaro said there is no significance to the evidence because his client admits he was at the Urbanski home with the woman.

"He found it (the driver's license), or it was given to him," Vaccaro said. "He was scared, being a suspect, he just held on to it. I guess he didn't want to leave it around as a conversation piece."