Sexual Predator Posed As Ride-Service Driver So He Could Hunt And Rape Women

Sexual Predator Posed As Ride-Service Driver So He Could Hunt And Rape Women


A man who authorities say raped several women while posing as a driver for a ride-hailing service in Los Angeles is facing more than two dozen charges.

Nicolas Morales raped seven women over a 15-month period across Los Angeles County, prosecutors said Tuesday. The crimes took place throughout the region, they said, from Beverly Hills to the San Gabriel Valley city of Alhambra.

Investigations into the assaults began a year ago. A woman left a Hollywood club Jan. 7, 2017, and got into a four-door car, believing it was her ride. But the driver drove the woman to a secluded area and sexually assaulted her, police said.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a composite sketch of the suspect in May; an accompanying news release did not mention additional victims.

But by the time Morales was arrested Friday, investigators had connected him to a total of seven sexual assaults, dating back to October 2016. In all seven incidents, prosecutors say Morales lured the women into his car by telling them he was their ride-share driver.

He has been charged with 27 crimes, including nine counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of rape, five counts of sodomy by use of force and four counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object. Morales is also accused of using a knife during the attacks.

If convicted, the 44-year-old could face up to 300 years in prison and lifetime sex-offender registration.

Morales was arraigned Tuesday, and jail records show that he is being held on a $10.3 million bond. It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.

Authorities said Tuesday that Morales is from Santa Clarita, California, which is north of Los Angeles.

Authorities did not say whether Morales was actually working for a ride-sharing company, or if he simply pretended to be a driver. An Uber spokeswoman told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal that Morales was not a driver for the company, which has come under scrutiny recently because of crimes alleged to have been committed by its drivers.

In June, an Uber driver with a felony record was suspected of kidnapping and sexually assaulting an intoxicated passenger in Los Angeles.

A woman told police in November that her Uber driver pinned her down and sexually assaulted her after hailing a ride from Manassas, Virginia, to her home in Woodbridge, Virginia.

The following month in Georgia, an extremely intoxicated 16-year-old girl told police that her Uber driver had just raped her after she was found with her pants around her ankles.

Uber is also facing a class-action lawsuit filed by two women who said they were sexually assaulted by their Uber drivers in Miami and Los Angeles. Both women said they were barely conscious as the assaults happened.

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