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Lyft driver arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting female passenger during ride to Santa Monica home

CBS News Live
CBS News Los Angeles Live

Santa Monica police announced Wednesday the arrest of a man for allegedly sexually assaulting a female passenger in his vehicle while he was employed as a Lyft driver in September.

Officers were sent to the 2900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue on Sept. 7, 2023, "regarding a sexual assault," according to Lt. Erika Aklufi of the Santa Monica Police Department.

Police said a woman reported that a Lyft driver picked her up from a West Hollywood restaurant and sexually assaulted her during the ride to her home.

"The victim, a Santa Monica resident, fell asleep in the car and woke up to inappropriate touching," Aklufi said.

"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."

Santa Monica police detectives identified the driver as Fernando Macias Morales, 34, of Los Angeles and he was arrested April 5 in the San Fernando Valley.

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

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