From Casey Grove in Anchorage--
Anchorage police say they arrested a cab driver Tuesday for sexually assaulting a passenger earlier this month.
Police say the Checker Cab driver, 28-year-old Paul Velasco, raped a woman on May 1.
The 42-year-old woman told detectives she’d been drinking at a house on East 6th Avenue before her family members called her a taxi, said prosecutor Brittany Dunlop. Velasco arrived and drove the woman to the Boniface Mobile Home Park in East Anchorage, not the Newell Street address where she was staying, and had sex with her in the back seat, according to the prosecutor and police.
“He took her to an area she called 'dark and secluded,’ ” Dunlop said. “She was drinking pretty heavily and she wasn’t from here. She’s from a village. And she’s since returned to the village.”
Velasco left the woman at a Tesoro gas station in the 300 block of Boniface Parkway, and the clerk there called 911 after she said she’d just been raped, police said.
Dunlop said the woman underwent a sexual assault examination, the results of which are still pending. But Velasco also admitted to having sex with the woman in a May 8 interview with police, the prosecutor said.
“His claim is it was consensual, that she traded sex for a cab ride,” Dunlop said.
Police jailed Velasco on Tuesday. He is held on $100,000 bail and scheduled to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.
The Anchorage Assembly approved a new law in September 2011 that makes it possible to suspend a driver's chauffeur's license if they are charged with sexual assault.
Here is a written statement police sent to reporters this morning:
Subject: Checker Cab Driver Arrested for Sexual Assault
APD Case: 12-19852
Anchorage Police arrested a Checker Cab driver for a sexual assault that occurred earlier this month.
On May 1, 2012, police responded to the Tesoro Station at the 300 block of Boniface regarding a female who had just been dropped off and reporting to the clerk that she had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver. The victim, a 42 year old Native female, stated she had been drinking at a friend’s house at the 5900 block of East 6th Avenue. Shortly after midnight, her friend called a cab for her to take her back to the residence she was staying at located on the 200 block of Newell Street. Instead of taking the victim to her residence, the cab driver drove to the Boniface trailer court where the alleged sexual assault occurred. The cab driver then drove her to the Tesoro Station where he dropped her off.
The driver, Paul Velasco, was arrested on May 22nd and has been charged with first degree sexual assault. He was lodged into the Anchorage Jail with his bail set at $100,000. Velasco is scheduled to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. today at the Anchorage Jail Court.
Special Victim Unit Detectives appreciate the cooperation of the owners of Checker Cab throughout this investigation.