Crime

Lyft driver who allegedly sexually assaulted Nipomo woman pleads not guilty

How you can help prevent sexual assaults

Here are some ways you can help prevent sexual assaults, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. The video "on sexual assault awareness and prevention in Isla Vista" also offers risk-reducti
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Here are some ways you can help prevent sexual assaults, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. The video "on sexual assault awareness and prevention in Isla Vista" also offers risk-reducti

A Lompoc Lyft driver who allegedly sexually assaulted a rider last week pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and other charges Wednesday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

Jason Lamont Fenwick, 51, pleaded not guilty to felony charges of sexual penetration, oral copulation, first-degree burglary and committing an assault during the commission of a burglary, as well as a misdemeanor charge of using a concealed camera to film under the alleged victim’s clothing.

Fenwick faces nearly 18 years in prison if convicted of all charges, according to a District Attorney’s Office spokesman.

Fenwick remains in custody in San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail. He is due back in court Nov. 21 for a bail reduction hearing.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office says Fenwick has driven for the ride-share service for more than a year and are asking for the public’s help in identifying other potential victims.

In response to a request for comment, Kaelan Richards, Lyft’s senior manager of policy and safety, called the allegations “horrific.”

“The safety of our community is our number one priority — we have absolutely no tolerance for this behavior on the platform,” Richards wrote. “Upon learning of this incident, we permanently banned the driver from our platform, reached out to the passenger to offer our full support and assistance, and stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation.”

Fenwick’s attorney, J. Jeff Chambliss, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

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According to a news release last week, detectives with the Sheriff’s Office’s Sexual Assault Unit responded Nov. 4 to a report of a sexual assault at a home in Nipomo. The alleged victim told authorities that a Lyft driver drove her to her residence in Nipomo after requesting the ride-share service when she became intoxicated, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The driver reportedly walked the woman into the home, where the Sheriff’s Office says she became unconscious and was then sexually assaulted by the driver.

The Lyft driver’s arrest comes follows another sexual assault case filed in January against a Santa Maria Uber driver. Alfonso Alarcon-Nunez, is accused of committing four sexual assaults in San Luis Obispo County. That case is still ongoing.

Matt Fountain: 781-7909, @mattfountain1
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