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Lyft driver held without bond after being arrested on sexual battery charge

Julio Perez, 43, forced teen to perform oral sex on him, police say

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A Lyft driver accused of forcing a teenage boy to perform oral sex on him appeared in court Friday morning.

A Miami-Dade County judge ordered Julio Perez, 43, to be held without bond until he's picked up and sent back to Broward County to face his charges.  

Lyft representatives said the company is "horrified" by the allegations and "stands ready to support" the victim and his family.

The company said the Perez was deactivated from its system as soon as the company found out about the allegations.

Police said Perez lured his way into a 16-year-old boy's house in Davie after driving the teen home.

"Once inside, he forced the boy to perform oral sex on him," Davie police Capt. Dale Engle said.

The boy told his mother what happened when she got home, remembering the Lyft driver's name and other information from the app.

Police said Perez later confessed after he was tracked down in Hialeah on Wednesday.

Authorities said he thought the boy was younger.

"Mr. Perez indicated he thought the boy was 12 years old," Engle said. 

Detectives said Lyft did not make it easy to find their driver. 

"Lyft was not as cooperative as other apps on releasing information on who the driver was. We were able to get it the next day," Engle said. "Parents need to be aware that these services may be questionable and the drivers may be questionable."

Lyft's policy states that minors are to be accompanied by adults when hailing a ride.

Lyft says the driver was screened and passed a thorough background and sex offender check.

Police fear there may be other victims, so they're encouraging parents to talk to their children and call police if they suspect they've been victimized.

An Uber spokeswoman said Perez also drove for Uber in the past for several months. She said the ride-sharing company was contacted by Davie police and they "immediately deactivated" Perez as a driver.

About the Authors:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.