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Lyft driver sexually assaulted 19-year-old passenger in 2018: prosecutors

Boanerges Lopez was held without bail Monday for allegedly attacking the woman who was “seeking to get home safely.”

A Cook County Judge denied bail for Boanerges Lopez, a Lyft driver accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman who was “seeking to get home safely” in the summer of 2018.
A Cook County Judge denied bail for Boanerges Lopez, a Lyft driver accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman who was “seeking to get home safely” in the summer of 2018.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Lyft driver sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman in the city in 2018, Cook County prosecutors said Monday.

Prosecutors did not give an address where the rape occurred or where the woman was picked up by Boanerges Lopez in July 2018, but they said she was hoping for a ride home after she was out with friends.

As Lopez approached the woman’s residence, he allegedly got out of his car, opened the rear passenger-side door and pulled her legs toward him.

The woman told Lopez to stop, but he didn’t listen and placed his hand on her throat and applied pressure before sexually assaulting her, Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin DeBoni said. Lopez also allegedly tried to force the woman to perform a sex act, but she was able to resist.

The woman, who suffered bruises to her breast, thigh and neck, told her friends about the attack the next day, DeBoni said. She was then taken to a hospital where a criminal sexual assault kit was taken. The unwashed clothes the now 22-year-old woman was wearing at the time of the attack was also tested, DeBoni said.

Boanerges Lopez
Boanerges Lopez
Chicago police

When Lopez consented to a buccal swab test in September 2018, his DNA profile was a near perfect match to the semen found on the woman’s underwear, DeBoni said.

“A subsequent lab report indicated that [Lopez] cannot be excluded — is included — as a donor of male DNA identified on the victim’s underwear and that this male DNA profile would be expected to occur in approximately 1 in 720 quadrillion unrelated individuals,” DeBoni said, reading from his proffer Monday.

Part of the attack was also captured on surveillance video from a neighboring home, DeBoni said. That footage shows a vehicle pulling up and the driver exiting and walking to the rear passenger-side door, DeBoni said. The side door is seen open for nearly 10 minutes before the passenger who was inside the car walks away, DeBoni said.

An arrest warrant was issued for Lopez in March 2020. The now 34-year-old was taken into custody Sunday, DeBoni said.

The victim was seeking “to safely get home by getting a ride” but was sexually assaulted instead, Judge David Navarro noted.

“The DNA ties you to this includes you or excludes you essentially more than the population of the world, several times over,” Navarro told Lopez before ordering him held without bail.

A Lyft spokeswoman said the company removed Lopez from “the Lyft platform as soon as we learned of these allegations.”

“Safety is fundamental to Lyft,” the spokeswoman said in the statement. “The behavior described is absolutely unacceptable....”

Lopez, a native of Guatemala, is married and has one son and two step-children, his lawyer said. He most recently worked in construction.

Lopez is expected back in court May 17.