A New York City cab driver is being charged in the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl he was driving home. Thirty-two-year-old Rafael Martinez allegedly committed the crime on Monday night, August 10. Now, he’s facing a laundry list of charges and the scorn of the public.
The young victim had been visiting her grandmother in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. The New York Daily News reports that the girl had gone there to pick up a new bicycle.
At about 6 o’clock p.m., her parents called the Evelyn Car Service, a local cab company, to drive their daughter from her grandma’s house to their home in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Though the trip was only three miles, the victim told police that Martinez, the driver, didn’t take her directly home. Instead, she said, he pulled the car over, enter the back seat with her and raped her.
Martinez reportedly drove the girl home after the assault. Later in the night, her parents took her to Woodhull Hospital. Police met the family there, where the victim recounted the incident to them.
Police investigation found that the cab’s GPS had recorded the stop where the rape allegedly took place. With the victim’s story apparently confirmed, they arrested Martinez on Tuesday, August 11.
“We have enough evidence to corroborate her story. There’s both physical and electronic evidence,” a police source told the Daily News. “You know what surprised me the most? He knew we were coming, and he waited. He stayed instead of getting on the next plane out.”
A Legitimate Cab Driver?
The general manager of the car service, Liz Bahnasy, said Martinez had never shown any indications of criminal behavior.
“I’ve never had a problem with this individual [before] Monday,” Banhasy told Gothamist. “I can’t answer if he raped her. I can tell you that I’ve never had any complaints about him.”
However, the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) released a statement to News 4 New York alleging that Martinez has never held a valid cab license.
“The TLC is horrified that a child was attacked while being transported and we are very concerned for her and her family,” the statement read. “The accused, Mr. Martinez, has never held a NYC TLC License, was operating illegally, and should also be held accountable for impersonating a TLC Licensee.”
Authorities are charging Martinez with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse, endangering the welfare of a child, menacing and assault. He was still awaiting arraignment as of Wednesday night, August 12.