Cops: Rideshare Driver Kidnapped, Raped Women

John Pastor-Mendoza charged with 41 felonies involving 10 victims
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2022 11:28 AM CDT
Cops: Rideshare Driver Kidnapped, Raped Women
John Pastor-Mendoza.   (Denver Police)

A rideshare driver in Denver raped or attempted to rape at least 10 women between 2018 and this year and there may be more victims, authorities say. John Pastor-Mendoza, 41, has been charged with 41 felonies, including 10 counts of kidnapping his victim to commit a sexual offense and eight counts of sexual assault, CBS reports. Investigators say Pastor-Mendoza targeted women who seemed intoxicated and tried to get rides from nightclubs in downtown Denver, reports the Washington Post. He allegedly assaulted them in his vehicle or at his home.

An arrest warrant details allegations in 10 similar crimes, Westword reports. In the first, a woman said she took a rideshare after drinking at a nightclub and becoming separated from friends in September 2018. She said she blacked out and woke up in an unknown apartment with a man she didn't know touching her. Her underwear was missing and her cellphone and ATM card had been taken from her purse. She fled the apartment on foot. She had a sexual assault examination at a hospital later that day that confirmed there was male DNA inside her, the warrant states, though she chose at the time to report it as a medical incident instead of getting law enforcement involved, the Post reports.

Lyft and Uber are both mentioned in the arrest warrant, but Uber says Pastor-Mendoza never drove for them, reports Westword. In one case, a woman said she was assaulted after ordering an Uber ride that was later canceled. Investigators say that after they noticed a pattern of sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults involving somebody described as a short Hispanic man with curly hair, they asked a nightclub to look out for a customer who matched the description. Pastor-Mendoza was arrested after an employee sent police photos of him inside the club, along with photos of his vehicle and identification. According to the arrest warrant, police found a bank card belonging to one victim in Pastor-Mendoza's home. It says they also found a box containing 18 cellphones. (More Denver stories.)

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