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    A 43-year-old man has been charged with sexual assault after pretending to be a rideshare driver.

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      rideshare charged with sexual assault

      Fake Rideshare Driver Charged with Sexual Assault

      A 43-year-old man has been charged with sexual assault after pretending to be a rideshare driver.

      Police will allege that the man assaulted three women aged between 19 and 21 years old.

      The accused was arrested after covert investigations suggested he was responsible for the offences.

      It follows news that ride share app Lyft received more than 4,000 reports of sexual assaults for trips between 2017 and 2019.

      Investigation

      Detective Inspector Ken Rogers said the man had been, “targeting young girls and utilising various methods of trickery and coercing these girls into his vehicle and whilst on route to their destination has performed a series of unwanted acts of a sexual nature.”

      On one occasion, the man is said to have dropped a woman at her home before following her inside, where he assaulted her.

      Inspector Rogers said the man was operating alone and was not an accredited rideshare driver.

      “Detectives have carried out investigations into the matter and utilised a number of strategies, both covert and overt, which has resulted in the identification of this offender. The modus operandi this particular individual was using was he was purporting to be a rideshare operator.”

      Inspector Rogers said the man had no clear reasoning for his “opportunistic” behaviour.

      “He would target girls that were on their phones obviously trying to order a rideshare service. He’d pull up beside them and they would try to utilise the app and get them to get his vehicle and they’d try to use the app again and when it wouldn’t sync with his vehicle, he would then enter into a cash transaction with the victims.”

      The offences were committed late at night and early in the morning. The arrest came at an opportune time as police believed the man would re-offend.

      He was charged sexual assault and enter dwelling with intent.

      Officers appealed to the public for more information and urged any other complainants to come forward.

      Over 4,000 Rideshare Sexual Assault Allegations

      The sexual assault charges come as it was revealed that rideshare app Lyft received more than 4,000 reports of sexual assaults during rides from 2017 to 2019.

      The report showed the number of sexual assault allegations collected through the app had risen from 1,096 in 2017 to 1,255 in 2018 and 1,807 in 2019.

      More than half of the incidents in 2019 were reported as “non-consensual touching of a sexual body part”. This is known as sexual touching. Another 156 reports involved non-consensual sexual penetration.

      Lyft released the figures nearly two years after Uber put out a similar report that showed more than 3,000 sexual assaults were reported on rides in 2018.

      Rideshare companies have come under increasing scrutiny over safety issues, especially sexual assault charges.

      Lyft was sued by more than a dozen women in 2019. The group alleged the company failed to enact basic safety measures to prevent the assaults. The women also said the company downplayed the seriousness of the attacks when they were reported.

      Rideshare companies generally screen all drivers with initial and annual background checks and that monitor criminal and driving records. A company official said the rate of sexual assaults as a percentage of rides decreased by 19% over the three-year period covered in the report.

      The company also said that from 2017 to 2019, more than 99% of rides occurred without any reported safety-related incident. The number of persons charged with sexual assault

      “While safety incidents on our platform are incredibly rare, we realize that even one is too many,” Jennifer Brandenburger, the company’s head of policy development and research said.

      Sexual Assault Lawyers Sydney

      The maximum penalty for sexual assault 14 years Imprisonment. There is also a Standard Non-Parole Period which is 7 years imprisonment.

      Despite this there have been a number of recent examples of these charges being dismissed after an accused retains experienced criminal defence lawyers. Having the best sexual assault lawyers in Sydney will go a long way towards beating these charges. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email info@astorlegal.com.au.

      The definition of sexual assault is engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. It is contained in Section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

      Sexual assault allegations are far more common today than at any time in the past. Community attitudes have changed shifted, in large part due to the #metoo movement. Unsurprisingly, this has made fighting such allegations more difficult than ever before.

      Often, a defence of ‘honest and reasonable mistake’ can be raised on the issue of consent. This is particularly so if the Accused took positive steps to determine whether consent was given. In this situation, if the Accused believes that the complainant was consenting, they may be able to defend the charge.

      One of the common defences to sexual assault is identification. If the Crown cannot establish that the Accused was the offender, then the offence cannot be proved. Often experts can be used such as DNA, fingerprint, CCTV and intoxication experts to cast doubt on identification.

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