Uber driver ac­cused of sex­u­ally bat­ter­ing fe­male pas­sen­ger

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Local - By Dan Sweeney [email protected] Sun­Sen­tinel.com, 954-356-4605 or Twit­ter @Daniel_Sweeney

Po­lice ar­rested Uber driver Emilio Lazaro Vic­tores, 45, on Thurs­day, charg­ing him with sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a woman who had hailed him for a ride on the night of March 16.

Ac­cord­ing to North Miami Beach po­lice, the vic­tim told of­fi­cers that she had hailed Uber Pool, which is cheaper than the usual ride but also means users will share cars with other users, to meet up with friends in Bis­cayne Park. When a group of three rid­ers wanted to get in, the vic­tim moved to the front pas­sen­ger seat so they could sit to­gether, and then fell asleep.

She told po­lice that she awoke in a strange part of town with Vic­tores on top of her, kiss­ing her. Her mesh bikini coverup had been pulled down, and her bikini bot­tom pulled to the side. She yelled at Vic­tores to get off of her and when he obeyed and apol­o­gized, she saw that his pants had been un­done as well.

The vic­tim, who was rent­ing a home in the city while on va­ca­tion, de­manded Vic­tores take her back home, rather than con­tinue on to Bis­cayne Park. He did so. She said that she then re­al­ized she was miss­ing a Rolex watch and $50 that she had stashed in her bikini top.

“What’s been de­scribed is deeply up­set­ting and our thoughts are with the rider dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time,” an Uber spokesper­son said in a state­ment. “The driver’s ac­cess to the app was re­moved as soon as it was re­ported to us.”

This was not Vic­tores’ first brush with the law. In bond court on Fri­day, he was given a $25,000 bond af­ter it was re­vealed that he had spent 15 years in prison af­ter break­ing into a home and stab­bing a man. He was re­leased in June 2016.

Un­der state law, rideshar­ing com­pa­nies like Uber and Lyft have to con­duct back­ground checks, and any­one with a felony or mis­de­meanors for DUI, reck­less driv­ing, hit and run, flee­ing po­lice, or any vi­o­lent or sex­ual of­fense within the past five years can­not be hired.

But be­cause Vic­tores’ pre­vi­ous crime hap­pened in 2001, he was el­i­gi­ble to work for the com­pany. And be­cause Uber’s back­ground checks cover only a seven-year pe­riod, the com­pany may not have even known about the pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion.

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