By: Saraana Jamraj
Police are investigating the sexual battery of a 22-year-old Coral Springs woman by a Lyft Driver.
On July 20, after a night out in Miami with friends on, the victim’s date ordered her a Lyft at approximately 4:28 a.m so that she could return safely to her Coral Springs home. According to the affidavit, she remembered getting into the car, exhausted, and then waking up confused as she found Ralph Augustin Lopez, 45, on top of her — who she slowly realized was her driver.
The victim recalls the ride-share driver groping her breasts and kissing her without consent. Her apartment complex surveillance camera footage confirmed her recollection of the events.
At 5:35 a.m., Lopez’s silver Mitsubishi entered the victim’s apartment complex at 10850 W Sample Road. Instead of dropping her off, he parked in the lot between two-empty spots directly in front of the complex’s surveillance cameras.
Surveillance recorded Lopez exiting the vehicle to get into the backseat where the victim was seated, and where she sat up slowly, adjusting her clothing.
Five seconds after parking, Lopez leans into her as the victim pushes him away with her right hand. The interior light then turned off for five seconds, a time in which the camera was unable to capture the movement in the car, and when Lopez’s actions remain unknown.
The victim opened the door, which re-illuminated the interior of the car where the suspect’s hand appeared to be in the victim’s vaginal area. The victim immediately exited the car, after the 19-second altercation. It was then the camera recorded the driver’s penis outside of his shorts, erect. Lopez then masturbates, exited the back seat and inspected the back seat with his hands, smelled his fingers, and got back into the driver’s seat. He then left the complex.
After verifying the suspect’s identity with the male who ordered the Lyft for the victim, and receiving the number for Lopez provided by Lyft, detectives attempted to contact him. However, he hung up on them and did not call back. The investigation also revealed that he kept his residential address hidden by listing his utilities, vehicle registration, and other address references as a rented P.O. Box in Coral Gables.
At the time of the report, Lopez also had a family court date scheduled, and detectives believed his pattern of behavior revealed a predatory nature towards younger women.
According to the warrant, the defendant was fully aware that the victim was incapacitated due to alcohol consumption, and knew that this limited her ability to consent or resist his sexual advances.
On September 18, Lopez was arrested by police for sexual battery, a second-degree felony. He remains in jail under a $50,000 bond and was ordered to surrender his passport.
Saraana Selene Jamraj is a writer, activist, and a student pursuing her Master’s Degree in Mass Communications at Florida International University.
She’s currently the Communications Manager at The Salt Box in Parkland and has lived in Coral Springs since 2004.
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