May 28, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Lyft Driver Faces Felony Sexual Assault Charges, Passenger Was Traveling Between Weho and Santa Monica

District Attorney Files Charges Following Allegations by Female Passenger

On April 10, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced the filing of felony sexual assault charges against a Lyft driver following allegations by a female passenger that she was attacked during a ride from West Hollywood to Santa Monica on September 7, 2023.

District Attorney Gascón emphasized the importance of safety in rideshare services, stating, “We entrust rideshare drivers with our safety, relying on their professionalism and integrity to provide safe transportation. Individuals who perpetrate acts of violence, especially against those who rely on transportation services for their everyday needs, will be held accountable.”

The defendant, identified as Fernando Macias Morales of North Hills, is charged with one count each of kidnapping to commit a sex offense, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person, and oral copulation of an intoxicated person.

During his arraignment on April 9 in Department 30 of the Airport Courthouse, Morales pleaded not guilty. A preliminary hearing setting was scheduled for April 23 in Department 31 of the same courthouse. His bail was set at $500,000. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 32 years to life in state prison.

The Santa Monica Police Department is leading the investigation into the case.

Individuals who believe they may be victims of Fernando Macias Morales are encouraged to contact Detective Stephanie Davis at the SMPD at 310-458-2201, extension 4400.

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