A 29-year-woman who told police she believed she was raped by a police officer — who detectives determined was actually a security guard — also told police her Lyft driver assaulted her several minutes earlier.
Police have only charged the security guard so far, and the investigation of the Lyft driver remains “remains open and ongoing,” a police spokesman said.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison on Tuesday night announced charges against Richard S. Barnes, including assault, rape and impersonating an officer. Barnes is jailed and faces a bail review hearing Friday morning.
Harrison did not mention the additional accusations against the Lyft driver made by the victim. However they were included in a probable cause affidavit filed with the charges against Barnes. A spokeswoman with the state’s attorney’s office said the office “cannot provide any additional details at this time.”
The Baltimore Sun does not name victims of alleged sexual assault. The Sun is not naming the Lyft driver because he has not been criminally charged.
The woman initially told police she believed she was raped by a police officer, prompting the department to pull 115 patrol cars off the streets as detectives searched for clues. The decision to double up officers in patrol cars occurred as city and union officials said officers are already stretched thin amid high levels of violent crime. But the cars returned to service as detectives identified Barnes as a suspect.
According to the statement of charges against Barnes, the victim was picked up from the Charles Village Pub shortly after 10 p.m. June 1 by a Lyft vehicle. The victim told police the driver began to touch her body and digitally penetrated her. He then parked the car in an alley in the 3100 block of St. Paul St. and the driver pulled the victim on top of him inside the car.
At that point, the victim told police, a second vehicle pull up behind the parked Lyft vehicle. A man dressed in a blue police uniform approached the car and ordered the victim out of the car and into his car, the document said.
According to the charging document, the victim rode in the front seat of Barnes’ car as he drove her to an unidentified location. Once inside, Barnes forced the victim to have sex with him. He then changed his clothes and took the victim back to the 3100 block of St. Paul St. in the same vehicle.
Investigators later determined the victim was ordered out of the car in the 2700 block of Lovegrove St., near St. Paul Street. Detectives pulled surveillance video from the area and were able to identify a dark Honda Crosstour with a missing rear brake light, the document said. They then scoured Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration records for Crosstour vehicles and looked at MVA photographs of the listed owners, the document said.
Police identified the suspect as Barnes, who works as a security guard at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Officers surveilling Barnes outside the hospital saw him driving the Honda with a broken brake light.
The victim later identified Barnes in a photo array as the suspect, the document said.
Barnes has previously been charged and convicted of impersonating a police officer in Baltimore County in 1995.
Barnes appeared for a bail review hearing Thursday, but requested a postponement until Friday so his private attorney could represent him.
The Baltimore Police Department in the past has been criticized for its handling of sexual assault investigations. A 2016 U.S. Justice Department investigation found a pattern of unconstitutional and discriminatory policing practices, and that investigators mishandled rape and other sexual assault cases. The DOJ report said investigators were quick to disregard claims from sex workers, and failed to follow up on indications of serial suspects.
In 2010, The Baltimore Sun reported that city police discarded rape complaints at the highest rate in the nation, five times the national average.
Barnes’ arrest raises questions about why the Lyft driver was not also charged, since the same woman made both allegations. Police and prosecutors aren’t saying anything about their decision-making process.
A Lyft spokeswoman said the company has deactivated the driver from its platform but declined to provide additional information, including any past complaints.
"Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the behavior described is deeply disturbing," spokeswoman Campbell Matthews said. "There is absolutely no place on the Lyft platform for violence or harassment of any kind."
Lyft drivers are screened for criminal and driving offenses through a third-party website before becoming an official driver, the company said. Lyft also conducts “continuous” criminal monitoring once the driver begins.
Earlier this month, another driver working for a ride-share company was accused of sexual assault in Baltimore County.
Police have charged 31-year-old Joshua Jamaal Robinson with second-degree rape and related charges after police said he sexually assaulted a 25-year-old woman in the back seat of an Uber on June 8.
A CNN investigation from last year found that over 100 Uber drivers had been accused of sexual assault or abuse in the previous four years. An additional 18 drivers for Lyft faced similar allegations.