LOS ANGELES (CN) – Prosecutors on Tuesday charged a man on suspicion of sexually assaulting and raping multiple women across Los Angeles County while posing as a ride-share driver.
Authorities charged Nicolas Morales, 44, of Santa Clarita, on 27 felony counts, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. The charges include nine counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of rape, five counts of 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.
Prosecutors say that from October 2016 to January 2018, Morales picked women up while posing as a ride-share driver in areas across Los Angeles County, including Beverly Hills, Alhambra, West Hollywood and the city of Los Angeles. Police believe Morales raped or sexually assaulted the women he picked up.
Morales briefly appeared in a Los Angeles County Superior Court in Alhambra for arraignment before Judge Cathryn Brougham. Morales tried to engage the San Fernando-based law firm Schwartz and Nader, which said it was not aware of the charges and had not taken the case as of Tuesday. An attorney for the firm said they would need more time to review the case.
A public defender represented Morales, who requested Morales be moved from the jail’s general population for his own safety while he waits for the next court date.
Brougham set bail at $10.3 million, as requested by the DA’s office.
If convicted on all charges, Morales faces 300 years in a state prison and lifetime sex offender registration according to the DA’s office.