A Santa Clarita man who allegedly posed as a ride-hailing driver and sexually assaulted seven women over a 15-month period pleaded not guilty Thursday to more than two dozen felony charges.
Nicolas Morales, 44, could face up to 300 years to life in prison and lifetime sex offender registration if convicted of nine counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of rape, five counts of sodomy by use of force, four counts of sexual penetration by a 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.
The criminal complaint includes allegations of knife use and multiple victims.
Morales is accused of sexually assaulting seven women while posing as a ride hailing driver in areas throughout Los Angeles County, including West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Alhambra, from October 2016 to January 2018. This is one of several incidents in which men pretending to drive for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft have molested women who enter their cars unaware that they aren’t the driver they summoned.
Morales was arrested Feb. 23 by Alhambra police and has remained behind bars since then.
Morales — who is being held in lieu of $10.35 million bail — is due back in an Alhambra courtroom on April 18, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial.