Woman criticizes Lyft's actions after son allegedly sexually abused by driver

Julio Perez accused of forcing teen to perform oral sex on him


DAVIE, Fla. – A woman criticized Lyft's actions after she said her 16-year-old son was sexually abused by one of the company's drivers.

"I would like to thank the Davie Police Department for their quick, professional response and continued support," the woman said in a statement. "I would also like to add that I am deeply disturbed and disappointed by the immediate actions of Lyft during this investigation."

Davie police said it took authorities a day to arrest Lyft driver Julio Perez in Hialeah after the Oct. 17 attack because the ride-sharing company would not immediately release his information.

"Lyft was not as cooperative as some of the other applications in releasing the information on who the driver was," Capt. Dale Engle said. "Although we were able to get it the next day."

The victim's mother said Oct. 17 was the first time her son had used the ride-sharing app to get home from school.

"Other well-known apps show the driver's license plates and are even accessible in the past ride history," she said. "Not the case with Lyft. Because of this lack of information, the police could not immediately identify my son's assaulter."

The victim's mother said she was "disturbed and felt helpless" that detectives could not immediately track down the driver and feared that he would commit a similar crime before he was arrested.

"Lyft provided the police with the information needed to arrest Julio Perez only after they were subpoenaed the next day," the woman said. "What if he would have fled that night? Or worse, done the same to another victim?"

The mother called Lyft’s actions "inexcusable" and urged the company to "take initiatives to correct these deficiencies within their app and company policy so that law enforcement can do their jobs without obstacles and no other family has to go through what we endured."

Police said Perez returned to the victim's home 10 minutes after dropping the teen off. 

"He knocked on the door," Engle said. "They engaged in a conversation at the doorway. The driver was able to coerce his way to get into the residence. Once inside the residence, he forced the boy to perform oral sex on him."

The boy told his mother once she got home, and that's when Davie police were called. 

Perez was arrested the next day on a sexual battery charge. He was later granted a $10,000 bond.

A Lyft representative said Perez was screened and passed a thorough background and sex offender check.

The representative said the company was "horrified" by the allegations and "stands ready to support" the victim and his family.

Davie police fear that there might be more victims targeted by Perez. Anyone who believes they or their child were victimized is urged to call police. 

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