Updates “not Uber” comment and source noting there have been no reports of these crimes happening in the Santa Clarita Valley
A Canyon Country man who posed as a rideshare driver has been charged with raping seven women throughout Los Angeles County over a span of 15 months, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
A Sheriff’s Department source confirmed Tuesday afternoon that none of the reports occurred in the Santa Clarita Valley; the District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement officers remain tight-lipped about any of the circumstances surrounding the crime.
Nicolas Morales, 44, was charged with 27 felony counts: nine counts of forcible oral copulation; six counts of rape; five counts sodomy by use of force; four counts of sexual penetration by foreign object; and one count each of assault with intent to commit a felony, attempted sodomy by use of force and attempted kidnapping to commit another crime.
The felony complaint also includes multiple victims and knife allegations.
The complaint fails to mention whether Morales was actually employed by a ridesharing service or just posing as a driver.
Uber spokeswoman Tracey Breeden told The Signal Tuesday that Morales was not an Uber driver.
One sergeant close to the investigation said Morales used the rideshare company’s name as “a pretense” to gain trust.
Morales was arrested in Alhambra on Feb. 23 by officers of the Alhambra Police Department, court records show.
“We have a single case,” Alhambra PD Sgt. Steven Carr, who heads the Investigations Division, told The Signal shortly after news of the charges was made public.
“It happened in our city,” he said. “This is a serial case so other jurisdictions may have more cases than ours.”
Prosecutors said from October 2016 to January 2018, Morales is accused of raping and sexually assaulting seven separate women while posing as a rideshare driver in areas throughout Los Angeles County, including Alhambra, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Los Angeles.
If convicted as charged, Morales faces a maximum possible sentence of 300 years to life in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration.
Morales, who was born in Los Angeles and who lived in South LA during in the mid-90s, is scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 5 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Alhambra Branch.
Morales has lived in Canyon Country with his wife since at least 2006.
Prosecutors are asking that his bail be set at $10.3 million.
Deputy District Attorney Presciliano Duran of the Victim Impact Program is assigned to the case
The case is being investigated by the Alhambra and Los Angeles police departments and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt