Judge Michael Cozens has found a Whitehorse cab driver guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman in the front seat of his taxi.
Rodrigo Moreno Torres had sex with a 23-year-old woman against her will after she paid him for a ride to her mother’s home, according to the decision read in court Monday.
The victim, who cannot be named under a publication ban, had been out drinking on the night of Dec. 2, 2011.
She hired Torres some time around eight o’clock the next morning, and asked to be taken to her mother’s house.
He drove her there, and she gave him a $20 bill for an $18 fare.
He then drove her to a nearby bus turnaround, went around to the front passenger side, reclined her seat and had sex with her.
The victim testified that she does not remember all of the details of the assault, due in part to her alcohol consumption and in part to blocking out the traumatic memory. She said she does remember that he climbed on top of her and that she did not want him to do it.
Torres testified that the sex was consensual, and that after paying the fare the woman began to touch him and asked him to have sex with her.
Initially, however, he denied that he had sex with her, even after he was taken into custody. Torres said that this was because he was ashamed and did not want his wife to find out, according to the decision.
The victim does not remember how she got back to her mother’s house, but her mother testified that she was extremely upset when she came in and that she immediately locked herself in the bathroom and stayed there for some time.
An RCMP officer who came to the house shortly after also found her in a distressed emotional state.
Torres was taken into custody following the incident, and was released on bail on Dec. 7, 2011.
One of the conditions of his bail was not to give any taxi rides to any female passengers who weren’t accompanied by at least one other adult, according to court documents.
Accounts differ on how drunk the victim appeared to be before and after the assault.
By her own account, she was intoxicated enough to have significant gaps in memory.
Torres testified that he found her coherent and fairly sober during the ride, during which she had a cellphone conversation with a friend.
The victim’s mother rated her level of intoxication a nine out of 10 when she arrived home.
The RCMP officer who spoke with her some time after said that she spoke clearly.
The judge did not find that the victim was too intoxicated to consent, but found that she did not consent.
“Consent must be unequivocal,” and lack of evidence that she fought back does not mean that she consented, Cozens told the court.
The judge found Torres’ assertion that the sex was consensual “implausible” and rejected it.
Torres was taken back into police custody following the decision.
The judge ordered defence counsel to produce a pre-sentence report to help him with his sentencing decision.
Torres is a citizen of Mexico, in Canada on a work visa. It is likely that he will be deported as a result of this conviction, said Cozens.
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