FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Fort Lauderdale Yellow Cab driver stood in front of a judge Wednesday for allegedly kidnapping and raping his client.
A 37-year-old woman visiting from Canada told Fort Lauderdale police on October 9th, at 12:30 a.m., she and a friend were picked up by a cab in the area of the 2400 block of E Sunrise Blvd.
Investigators said when the women were in the cab they stopped at an ATM to withdraw money because driver Max Raphael, 29, refused to accept a credit card.
When the friend stepped out at NE 3rd Ave. and NE 1st St., Raphael reportedly drove off with the victim in the car.
According to the complaint affidavit, the cabbie drove to a parking lot in the area of SE 3rd Ave. and SE 4th St., where he forcefully removed the woman from the vehicle and sexually battered her.
"He not only drags her forcefully out of the vehicle, when she attempts to get away from him, he throws her to the ground and that is when he sexually batters her," said Detective DeAnna Greenlaw.
The woman immediately reported the incident to police and was taken to the Nancy J. Cotterman Sexual Assault Treatment Center for a medical evaluation.
On November 25th, detectives from the Special Victims Unit received a report from the Broward Sheriff's Office DNA Laboratory. According to the report, the DNA collected positively identified Raphael.
Raphael was arrested on Tuesday and charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of sexual battery.
Raphael's girlfriend, who was in court for his hearing Wednesday, is still stunned.
"Max is a good father. He would never do something like that. If somebody accused him of that, he would never do it, because I know him. He always gives me some good advice," she said.
The victim's attorney said the fact that his client was using a well-respected cab company makes this case even more shocking.
"This is unimaginable," said Raphael's attorney, Curt Obront. "I think, the last thing on anybody's mind is that the driver that is working for that company is going to kidnap and rape them."
In light of the arrest, John Camello, President of Yellow Cab, issued the following statement.
"Yellow Cab takes the public and its passengers' safety seriously. Since the time we became aware of this matter we have full cooperated with the authorities in the investigation and will continue to do so."
Anyone who may have information about this incident or similar incidents should contact Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477(TIPS).
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