A Florida man posing as a ride-share driver has been accused of raping a 28-year-old woman he picked up from Miami International Airport. Fernando Avila Hernandez, 28, is charged with sexual battery on a victim 18 years or older and touch or strike battery, authorities say.
A Florida man posing as a ride-share driver was arrested Wednesday on sexual battery charges alleging he picked up a woman at Miami International Airport last month and raped her, authorities said.
Fernando Avila Hernandez, allegedly raped the unidentified victim, a native of Colombia, after she flew in from Salt Lake City on March 29. The woman had an immigration hearing the next morning and was looking for a cab to her hotel in Miramar when Hernandez, pretending to be an Uber driver, took her to a parking lot and sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said, as reported by New York Post.
Fernando Avila Hernandez, 28, of Miami, was listed as an inmate Thursday in the Broward County Jail, where he was being held on two counts of sexual battery on a victim 18 years or older and one count of touch or strike battery, according to jail records. Bond on the charges totaled $135,000, records said. The accused appeared in court Thursday.
A spokesperson with the Broward County State Attorney’s Office said Avila Hernandez made his initial appearance in court Thursday and that a judge ordered that if he posts bail, he can’t have any contact with the victim and will be fixed with a GPS monitoring device.
NBC Miami reported Avila Hernandez picked up a 28-year-old woman who had arrived at the airport from Salt Lake City. The woman was trying to hail a taxi when she was approached by Avila Hernandez, who was soliciting passengers as a ride-share driver, according to an affidavit.
The woman, who is originally from Colombia, got into the back of Avila Hernandez’s SUV and said she needed a ride to a hotel in Miramar, the affidavit says.
During the ride, Hernandez requested the victim to come to the front seat and help him with directions. The woman, who was unfamiliar with how Uber functions in the U.S., “did not think anything of it because since Uber is not officially allowed in Colombia; Uber drivers sit their passengers in the front so as to not alert authorities,” the affidavit said.
When the victim approached her hotel, she reportedly offered to pay by credit card, but Hernandez insisted he needed cash. He then allegedly offered her $500 for sex, which she declined saying she was not a sex worker. Hernandez is then said to have demanded $300 for the ride but the victim did not have cash.
Hernandez reportedly drove her to a parking lot behind a nearby restaurant, where the victim was sexually assaulted, and then dropped her back at the hotel, officials said. The woman alerted the hotel staff who reported it to the police.
The man was arrested after cops identified him from surveillance footage in connection with an unrelated incident.
Avila Hernandez’s lawyer, Bijan Sebastian Parwaresch, said Thursday his client is innocent: “We’re highly objecting to the notion of an unconsensual sexual encounter.”Avila Hernandez might post bond later Thursday, Parwaresch said.
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