JUPITER, Fla. (CBS12) —
A judge denied bond to an Uber driver who is charged with the sexual battery of a woman he picked up at SunFest in downtown West Palm Beach.
Gary T. Kitchings showed no emotion as he appeared in court Tuesday morning.
In addition to denying him bond, the judge told Kitchings to have no contact with the woman who’s accusing him of sexual battery.
According to Jupiter Police, a woman asked for a ride from Uber just after midnight at SunFest. The woman said she took a number of screen shots of the Uber screen since she had billing problems. The driver listed on her screen was named “Gary,” and the driver who arrived to pick her up in a Nissan Versa was 57-year-old Gary Kitchings.
The woman told police Kitchings picked up two other women during her ride and dropped them off. Police said the woman claimed Kitchings began flirting with her. She also said he touched her leg and moved his hand up her shirt but she pushed his hand away. The woman said he tried again and she pushed him away and told him she didn’t want that. She said he then tried to grab her hand and put it on his groin area but she pulled it back, police said.
As Kitchings got off the highway in Jupiter, the woman told police she tried to open the door and get out, but it was locked. According to police, Kitchings told the girl he had a gun under the seat and if she didn’t do what she wanted to he would kill her.
According to the police report, the woman claimed Kitchings made her perform oral sex on him. He then dropped her off at her house. The woman told police she thought Kitchings drove away, but instead he came up behind her and forced her into her home. She said she screamed and he threatened to kill her and her dog if she didn’t shut up. The woman said he forced her to perform oral sex before having sex with her. The woman said before Kitchings left, he told her he’d come back and kill her if she told anyone, according to police. She then called 911.
Kitchings is facing charges of kidnapping, sexual battery and burglary. If convicted he could face life in prison.
Uber said it has removed Kitchings as a driver from its app. “What the rider reported is deeply disturbing,” said the company in a statement to CBS12.
Place of Hope, Inc., which provides program management and staffing services, says it has placed Kitchings on leave pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings. The organization would not reveal what role he had or how long he’s been working for them. “Our first priority is for the care and security of children and youth placed with Place of Hope,” said spokeswoman Michelle Brown.
Brown says Place of Hope is also a contractor to Kidsanctuary Campus. In a promotional video for the Rubin Cottage on Safe Haven Drive in West Palm Beach, Kitchings is listed as a house parent for the home that opened in 2012. Kidsanctuary offered no comment when asked about Gary Kitchings and the video. The organization is referring all inquiries to Place of Hope since he was a staff member there, said a spokeswoman at Kidsanctuary.
Reposted from http://cbs12.com/news/local/uber-driver-denied-bond-after-arrest-on-sexual-battery