A Santa Clarita man accused of posing as a ride-share driver and sexually assaulting multiple women over a period of 15 months in Los Angeles County has been charged with more than two dozen counts, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Nicolas Morales, 44, was described as an “alleged serial rapist” in a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
He is accused of raping and sexually assaulting seven women while posing as ride-sharing driver between October 2016 and January 2018. Prosecutors did not say identify which ride-hailing services he posed as a driver for, nor did they describe how he found his alleged victims.
Morales has been charged with a total of 27 felony counts, including nine counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of rape, five counts of sodomy by use of force and four counts of sexual penetration by foreign object, the release stated.
He was also charged with one count each of assault with intent to commit a felony, attempted sodomy by use of force and attempted kidnapping to commit another crime.
Morales is alleged to have used a knife in some of the attacks, which occurred in areas throughout the county including Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Los Angeles and Alhambra.
The Los Angeles Times linked one of the incidents to a sex assault in Hollywood on Jan. 7, 2017. Four months later, the Los Angeles Department released a suspect sketch as they asked for help identifying a man who allegedly impersonated a ride-share driver, picked up a woman outside a club in the Hollywood area and raped her.
The victim told police she had ordered an Uber car and got in the four-door sedan, thinking it was her ride, the Times reported. Instead, the driver took the woman to a secluded location and sexually assaulted her, an LAPD news release stated.
The sketch was part of the investigation that helped lead police to the suspect, the newspaper reported.
Morales was charged with five counts in connection with an incident on Jan. 7 in L.A. County, according to the felony complaint, which identified the accuser only as Jane Doe No. 3.
Morales was arrested last Friday afternoon by the Alhambra Police Department, inmate records showed.
He appeared in court for arraignment in Alhambra on Tuesday afternoon, but the hearing was postponed till March 8. Prosecutors persuaded a judge to set his bail at $10.3 million.
If convicted as charged, the defendant faces up to 300 years in prison and would have to register as a lifetime sex offender.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating the case, including the Alhambra and Los Angeles police departments and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.