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Alleged Uber Impersonator Arrested in Miami Beach Rape Case

In a disturbing incident rocking Miami Beach, a 38-year-old man from Northwest Miami-Dade faces serious charges after allegedly sexually assaulting a woman he purportedly picked up while impersonating an Uber driver. Claudel Lesperance stands accused of sexual battery and attempted kidnapping following an encounter with the victim outside the Barrom Club at 13th Street and Collins Avenue.

The case, which unfolded on February 9th, took a sinister turn when the victim, who was reportedly intoxicated, sought transportation. Lesperance allegedly intercepted her, claiming to be an Uber driver. However, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Mindy Glazer expressed doubt regarding the attempted kidnapping charge, emphasizing the substantial evidence for sexual battery. Judge Glazer ordered Lesperance to steer clear of the victim and imposed a no-contact order, keeping him detained without bond.

According to police reports, the victim, feeling unwell from alcohol consumption, sought confirmation of Lesperance’s Uber affiliation, which he purportedly affirmed before changing his story, claiming association with the Barroom Club. The victim recounted losing consciousness during the ride and awakening to a harrowing ordeal, alleging rape and the theft of $20 before being ejected from the vehicle near the International Language campus on Collins Avenue.

Authorities pieced together crucial evidence, including surveillance footage depicting Lesperance, allegedly fixated on the victim, corroborating her account. Defense attorney Jeff Robinson emphasized the victim’s compromised state, suggesting potential gaps in recollection due to her altered consciousness. Robinson portrayed Lesperance as a family man, expressing shock over the allegations, which he deemed uncharacteristic of his client’s history, highlighted by a prior non-violent offense over a decade ago.

Despite Lesperance’s attorney and family’s silence, public reaction has been one of shock and concern, particularly among tourists and parents frequenting South Beach. Tourist Anna Huber, hailing from Germany, expressed sympathy for the victim, denouncing the alleged incident as “horrible.” Similarly, Cheryl Drezek, visiting from Orange, Connecticut, lamented the tragedy, underscoring the importance of vigilance and safety precautions, especially for young women frequenting bars and clubs.

Uber, responding to inquiries, swiftly distanced itself from the accused, asserting that Lesperance was not active on their platform during the alleged assault. The company reiterated its commitment to safety, emphasizing the need for riders to verify trip details meticulously, including license plate, vehicle make and model, and driver information.

As the case unfolds, it serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers lurking in seemingly routine activities and the imperative of safeguarding against predatory individuals. The alleged incident has prompted renewed scrutiny of safety measures within the transportation industry and heightened awareness among travelers navigating unfamiliar locales.



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Patrick Zarrelli

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