85ºF

Former Uber driver accused of raping woman after SunFest found guilty

Gary Kitchings convicted of sexual battery, false imprisonment

Former Uber driver Gary Kitchings testifies during his rape trial in West Palm Beach.
Former Uber driver Gary Kitchings testifies during his rape trial in West Palm Beach.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A former Uber driver accused of raping woman after he gave her a ride home from SunFest has been found guilty by a South Florida jury.

Gary Kitchings, 58, was convicted Friday on five of the six counts against him, including sexual battery and false imprisonment.

Kitchings testified during trial that the sex was consensual and that he was only guilty of cheating on his wife, but the jury didn't buy it.

According to a Jupiter police report, the woman was taking an Uber ride home after attending the downtown West Palm Beach waterfront festival last year when Kitchings began to flirt with her.

The woman told police that Kitchings touched her leg and tried to put his hand up her shirt, but she pushed it away and told him to stop. She said she tried to jump out once they were off the highway, but the door was locked.

Kitchings saw her try to get away and told her that he had a gun under his seat, threatening to kill her if she didn't do what he wanted, according to the report.

The woman told police that Kitchings forced her to perform oral sex on him and told her that he was going to urinate, making her drink his urine, the report said.

When they arrived at her home, the woman got out of the car and was running to get inside, but Kitchings followed her, grabbed by the arm and pushed her into the house, the report said.

The woman screamed for help, but Kitchings closed the door and told her that he would "kill her and her dogs if she didn't shut up," the report said.

Police said the woman, believing that Kitchings had a gun under his shirt, complied with his demands, taking off her skirt and pantyhose and performing oral sex. Police said Kitchings also had sex with her without using a condom.

Before leaving, Kitchings told the woman that he would come back and kill her if she told anyone, the report said.

Police said the woman called 911 and told the dispatcher, "I've been raped." She told the dispatcher that she had locked herself in her bedroom "in case the guy comes back."

Assistant state attorneys Brianna Coakley and Marci Rex refuted the defense's argument that the woman was lying.

"There is absolutely no reason for her to make this up," Coakley said, according to the SunSentinel.

The defense argued that police never found evidence of Kitchings' urine or semen in his car, but Rex said that was because he commanded her to swallow it.

"She swallowed what she was told to swallow," Rex said.

Kitchings testified that he and the woman "had a good time," but he felt remorse for cheating on his wife.

"I've had to apologize to my wife for this," he testified. "I felt very sorry. She's the last person on this planet I want to hurt."

Kitchings, who has been held without bond since his arrest last May, is scheduled to be sentenced May 18.