DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Hialeah Lyft driver was arrested after he was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy in Davie.
Police arrested 43-year-old Julio Perez at his Hialeah home, Wednesday evening.
According to Davie Police, Perez picked up the victim from Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines and took him to his home in Davie on Tuesday afternoon. After he dropped the victim off, police said he returned approximately 10 minutes later and made his way into the home. He then pushed the teen into a nearby bedroom where he forced the boy to perform oral sex on him.
“He heard a knock on the door, and it was the Lyft driver knocking on the door. Made his way inside my house, and things got kind of messy,” said the victim’s mother, who did not want to show her face.
Before leaving, police said Perez offered to pick the victim up again, but the victim declined.
The victim’s mother said the assault left her son traumatized and that he doesn’t feel safe in his own home. “Every time somebody knocks at the door, he has to think that maybe it’s that guy coming back,” she said.
“[Perez] is a sicko. He’s a plain sick man. He is a pervert. That’s what he is. He’s a pervert,” she said. “He is a sexual predator, so he preyed on my son. And my son was a victim.”
She said it was the first time the family had used Lyft and that the ride-sharing service did not make tracking down the driver any easier.
“I’m feeling upset. I’m feeling helpless. I’m feeling angry,” she said.
“Lyft was not as cooperative as some of the other applications in releasing the information,” said Davie Police Department Capt. Dale Engle.
Police said they needed a subpoena to get Perez’s information. Detectives said Perez admitted to the crime and told them that he thought the victim was younger than 16.
“It’s a high school student, so our concern initially was, ‘Did this kid look older?’ – thinking that this may be one of his defenses. But during the course of the interview, Mr. Perez indicated that he thought the kid was 12 years old,” said Engle. “So he knew that he was underage.”
Lyft released a statement in response to the incident which reads, “We are horrified by these allegations. We deactivated the driver as soon as this was reported, and stand ready to support the passenger and his family. We are currently in contact with law enforcement and have offered our full assistance and cooperation.”
As a Lyft driver, police said Perez could have covered a lot of ground, and there could be more victims.
If you have any information on Perez, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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