LOS ANGELES (CN) – A man accused of sexually assaulting seven women he picked up while posing as a ride-hail driver pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles County courtroom on Thursday.
Nicolas Morales, 44, of Santa Clarita, has been charged with 27 felony counts, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Police say forensic evidence led the suspect’s arrest.
Prosecutors say that from October 2016 to January 2018, Morales posed as a ride-hail driver for services like Uber and Lyft across Los Angeles County, including Beverly Hills, Alhambra, West Hollywood and the city of Los Angeles.
Forensic evidence led police to Morales after a victim called 911 in December 2017 to report she was picked up by a driver in Los Angeles. The woman was taken to a secluded parking lot in Alhambra and was sexually assaulted, said police, who collected forensic evidence from the victim.
Morales was arrested near his Santa Clarita home, where detectives served a search warrant and collected items as part of their investigation.
Police say forensic evidence also links Morales to several unsolved sexual assaults throughout Los Angeles County.
Prosecutors charged Morales on 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.
Morales pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles County Superior Court in Alhambra on Thursday. He remains in custody on $10.3 million bail.