A Bethesda, Maryland, man was charged last week with sexually abusing two women while posing as a ride-share driver, according to Montgomery County police.
According to police reports and court documents, Claudio Vizcarra, 45, was charged with first degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor sexual abuse after one victim claimed he had raped her and another claimed he had made sexual, physical contact with her. Both occurred in what both victims believed to be ride-shares.
Vizcarra was charged in the two sex abuse cases in D.C. Superior Court and was released under high intensity supervision on Thursday.
When contacted by WTOP’s news partners at NBC Washington, his defense attorney said Vizcarra is innocent.
“When all the relevant facts come to light, Mr. Vizcarra will be exonerated,” he told NBC Washington.
The first reported assault happened early Sunday, Apr. 30, in Northwest D.C.
Police records show that, just before midnight, the first victim needed a ride home from Sauf Haus Bier Hall in Dupont Circle. After multiple ride-shares were canceled, court documents alleged that Vizcarra offered to give the woman a ride home from the bar that morning. He allegedly asked the victim to sit in the front seat because he was picking up other ride-share passengers.
The victim said Vizcarra drove for a few minutes before parking in front of an apartment building. When the car stopped, she said, the sexual assault began.
Vizcarra allegedly drove the woman home before she called the Arlington County Police Department to report the assault. The victim was transported to a hospital and given a sexual assault examination.
The District’s Sexual Assault Unit was made aware of the case on Tuesday, May 3.
Months later, on Oct. 29, another woman was in the Adams Morgan area for a Halloween party when she needed a ride home. After she canceled her Uber ride, Vizcarra allegedly offered her a ride home and said he was an Uber driver, according to the police report.
Similar advances were made by Vizcarra, who she said began touching her inner thigh and kissing her. Once the victim said she had a boyfriend, the encounter stopped. The woman texted a friend and, after that person called her on the phone, talked to them for the remainder of the ride.
When they were driving on Fessendren Street NW, friends of the victim, including the one she had spoken to on the phone, “came into the street to await their arrival.” After the victim exited the vehicle, witnesses said Vizcarra immediately made a U-turn and sped away.
One witness stated they were able to get a photograph of Vizcarra’s license plate.
By Oct. 31, Vizcarra’s vehicle was identified and towed by D.C. police. On Nov. 4, he was served a warrant and told police that “the last time he drove for Uber was approximately two years ago.”
On that day, a DNA sample was taken and compared to DNA from the first victim in this case. A forensics lab determined that the DNA matched.
Vizcarra’s next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 23.