Prosecutors say Orlando Vilchez Lazo, an undocumented immigrant from Peru, picked up the victims from nightclubs and bars in San Francisco before the alleged rapes.
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Court documents explain the attacks spanned five years.
The first alleged attack happened in November of 2013. A woman was leaving Virgil's Sea Room in the Mission District and called a Lyft to head home. The defendant claimed to be her ride, so she got in, but ended up falling asleep and woke up in an unknown location. She was then reportedly raped and eventually taken home. The case went cold for four years.
However, in February of this year, there was a similar setup outside of the Temple Nightclub in SOMA. Vilchez Lazo allegedly picked up two women and drove for a short distance. Court documents say he pulled over and directed one of them to get out to retrieve a bottle of water. Once she was out of the car, the defendant drove off with the victim. She was then reportedly raped and then taken home.
Four victims over a five-year time span. Prosecutors say Orlando Vilchez Lazo (an documented immigrant from Peru) posed a ride share driver, picked up his victims from nightclubs and bars in San Francisco and allegedly held them against their will as he raped them. More at 5pm.— Chris Nguyen ABC7 (@ChrisNguyenTV) July 19, 2018
The third victim was picked up from a bar in May. Prosecutors say the defendant threatened the victim with a knife, pulled off her pants and raped her.
Just last month, prosecutors say Vilchez Lazo returned to Temple and picked up the fourth victim, who drifted in and out of sleep during the drive. She recalled waking up and realizing that her hands were covered in her own blood and that she had been trying to fend off a knife.
On Thursday, Lazo entered his plea in front of a judge and family members. Lazo's attorney said Lazo's wife was in attendance.
Following Lazo's not guilty plea, his wife declined to speak on camera. Instead, she directed the media to speak with Lazo's lawyer.
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"Mr. Vilchez Lazo has pled not guilty, he's maintained his innocence, and the Constitution entitles him to a presumption of innocence until his day in court," public defender Sandy Feinland said.
Feinland added his client should be tried in court and not by the media.
In response, Alex Bastian with the District Attorney's Office said, "Rape is one of the most horrific crimes imaginable that we have in our criminal justice system, and in this case we have four victims."
Rideshare company Lyft said it is now beefing up its security checks. A new process will be applicable to both new and current drivers.
Lyft maintains Lazo fraudulently represented himself to become a driver.
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