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Lyft Driver Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail for Sexually Assaulting Female Passenger

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Jan. 22, 2020 By Kristen Torres

A Lyft driver was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday for sexually assaulting a passenger who had fallen asleep in his car in Queens.

Welinton Fernandez, 31, of Corona was convicted in November of first degree criminal sexual act and first degree sexual abuse for sexually assaulting a 28-year-old female passenger on Jan. 6, 2018, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Fernandez picked up the woman around 5 a.m. from a Flushing bar and was supposed to drive her four miles away to her home. The woman fell asleep during the ride, however, and woke up to Fernandez sexually assaulting her.

The victim, whose pants and underwear had been pulled down, fled the vehicle and ran home.

The victim was treated at a local hospital the following day. DNA taken from her body was consistent with the defendant’s, according to the District Attorney’s office.

“A woman who’d called for a car, thought she would safely make it to her home,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “Instead, the unsuspecting woman was violated by this defendant, who was found guilty by a jury of his peers.”

Fernandez was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by 8 years post release supervision. He must also register as a sex offender.

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