WRENTHAM — The lawyer for an Uber driver charged with raping a customer in Wrentham said Tuesday that his client is being falsely accused and that “the facts will exonerate” him.
Boston defense lawyer Robert Carmel-Montes denied Melvin Guerrero-Encarna, 33, sexually assaulted the woman and said she gave him her phone number after their encounter in the early morning hours of April 28.
Speaking to reporters outside Wrentham District Court, Carmel-Montes said his client’s defense will be that the encounter was consensual.
“They are very serious charges but at the same time there are two sides of the coin in this case,” Carmel-Montes said. “He will vigorously contest these charges.”
Guerrero-Encarna, of Lynn, pleaded innocent to two counts of rape and was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing Thursday.
He is accused of raping a woman in the back of his SUV on a secluded street in Wrentham shortly after picking her up around 2:30 a.m. on April 28 at Clearmont Condominiums in Franklin. The woman told police she left a party and told the Uber driver she was intoxicated, according to a police report.
After she arrived at her friend’s house, the woman told her friend she thought she had sex with her Uber driver, according to the report. She allegedly suffered bruises to her arms and legs and complained of back pain, but Carmel-Montes said his client did not harm the woman.
The defense lawyer said woman was “lucid” when she told his client about her problems during a 45-minute conversation in the vehicle. Before she got out, Carmel-Montes said, she gave him her phone number.
Carmel-Montes said Guerrero-Encarna has no criminal record, has lived legally in the United States for five years and has a 3-year-old son.
He has driven about 13,000 clients for both Uber and Lyft and has never had a negative rating, Carmel-Montes said.
Uber removed Guerrero-Encarna from the drivers list on its app after the alleged rape was reported to the company by police, a spokesperson said.
“What police have reported is very upsetting and has no place on the Uber app,” the company said. “The driver’s access was removed as soon as this was reported to us.”
Guerrero-Encarna, a native of the Dominican Republic, is in the United States on an immigrant visa that allows him to stay with his wife, a U.S. citizen, as a conditional permanent resident, according to the police report.
Carmel-Montes said his client has a large family support network and that two dozen family members came to court Monday when the arraignment had been initially expected. He asked only five members to come to court Tuesday.
Guerrero-Encarna was arrested by Lynn police over the weekend on a warrant obtained by Wrentham police. Detectives obtained a search warrant and Uber records during the investigation.
In a statement Tuesday, Police Chief Bill McGrath recommended using caution when using any ride services. He said unmarked vehicles used by ride sharing businesses blend easily with surroundings, unlike marked taxi cabs and buses.
“The safest practice, especially for women, is to ride in groups and to review the safety protocols in place by the ride service,” McGrath said.