A Lyft driver in Hialeah, Florida, was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy he drove home, according to CBS Miami. At around 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, officials say that Julio Perez, 43, picked up a teen, whose name has not been released, from Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines and dropped him off at his home in Davie.
Perez purportedly left the teen’s home, but about 10 minutes later, he returned. Police say the teen willingly let the Lyft driver in the home, fearing that if he didn’t, Perez was going to force his way inside.
It was alleged that while inside the home, the Lyft driver asked the teen if he wanted to do anything sexual to him. Afterward, police say he forced the teen into performing oral sex on him. The boy told authorities that he thought if he didn’t comply, something would happen to him.
After the incident, detectives say that the Lyft driver asked the teen if he wanted him to pick him up from school again, but the teen rejected his offer.
Hialeah Police were notified of the incident, but it was reported that it wasn’t easy locating Perez, as Lyft was being uncooperative. A subpoena was needed to obtain the Lyft driver’s information. Once Perez’s location was revealed, police arrested him at his home Wednesday evening.
While in police custody, investigators say that Perez admitted to sexually assaulting the teen boy after driving him home, saying that he thought the boy was 12-years-old.
The victim’s mother, who asked to remain anonymous, stated that it was the first time anyone from her family had used the ride-sharing service. She went on to say that she felt angry and helpless after learning about the Lyft driver’s alleged sexual assault on her son, who she says has been traumatized by the incident, and he now feels unsafe in his home, WSVN reports.
She described the Lyft driver as a perverted, sick man.
Following the Lyft driver’s alleged sexual assault on a teen boy, Lyft released the following statement.
“We are horrified by these allegations. We deactivated the driver as soon as this was reported, and we stand ready to support the passenger and his family. We are currently in contact with law enforcement and have offered our full assistance and cooperation.”
Hialeah Police officials believe that there may be more victims, as the Lyft driver covered a lot of ground. If you have information regarding Perez, you are urged to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.
The investigation continues.
[Featured Image by Broward County Sheriff’s Office]