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Lyft Driver Charged with Sexually Assaulting Santa Monica Passenger


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By Lookout Staff

April 10, 2024 -- Police on Friday arrested a Lyft driver for sexually assaulting an unconscious Santa Monica resident last September during her ride home, police officials said Wednesday.
Fernando Macias Morales

Fernando Macias Morales, a 34-year-old resident of Los Angeles, was arrested in the San Fernando Valley after SMPD detectives identified him as the suspect.

On September 7, police responded to the 2900 block of Pennsylvania Ave regarding a sexual assault, said Lt. Erika Aklufi, the Police Department spokesperson.

"A woman reported that a Lyft driver picked her up from a restaurant in West Hollywood and sexually assaulted her during the ride home," Aklufi said.

The victim "fell asleep in the car and woke up to inappropriate touching. The suspect then offered to walk her to her door, which she refused.

"Once home, she realized several hours had passed since she was picked up," Aklufi said.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office charged Morales with one felony count of kidnapping to commit a sexual act, and felony counts of sexual penetration and oral copulation of a person intoxicated or under sedation, police said.

“We entrust rideshare drivers with our safety, relying on their professionalism and integrity to provide safe transportation,” said District Attorney George Gascón.

“Individuals who perpetrate acts of violence, especially against those who rely on transportation services for their everyday needs, will be held accountable.”

Bail for Macias Morales set at $500,000, according to police.

Lyft released the following statement concerning the arrest:

“The behavior described is reprehensible and has no place in the Lyft community or anywhere in society," the statement said.

"Upon learning of this incident, we permanently banned the driver from the Lyft platform, contacted the rider to offer support, and assisted law enforcement with their investigation.”

Anyone with additional information should call Det. Stephanie Davis at 310-458-2201 x4400, Sgt. Chad Goodwin at 310-458-8931, or the Watch Commander desk 24 hours a day at 310-458-8427.

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