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Woman assaulted in Lyft, then raped by security guard impersonating a police officer, charging docs say

Posted at 2:42 PM, Jun 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-14 10:16:04-04

BALTIMORE — Charging documents accounting the rape of a woman by a security guard who impersonated a police officer reveal a sordid tale of a manipulative and tragic night that escalated to its nightmarish end.

According to documents, in the evening of June 2 the woman called for a Lyft to drive her from a residential address in Baltimore to the The Charles Village Pub on St. Paul Street. Upon arriving and picking up the woman, the 34-year-old male driver soon began touching the victim on her body, eventually forcing his fingers into her vagina, according to the charging documents.

As the driver got near the intended destination, he pulled into an alley, later determined to be the 2700 block of Lovegrove Street, and parked. He then pulled the woman and forced her on top of him, the documents said. At that point, a dark colored car, later determined to be a Honda Accord Crosstour, pulled up behind the Lyft vehicle.

A man dressed in a blue police uniform, later identified as Richard Stephen Barnes, exited the Honda and approached the Lyft driver’s car, according to charging documents. Barnes ordered the woman out of the car and into his Honda, allowing her to sit in the front seat.

Barnes then drove her to an unidentified address, where he proceeded to rape her, forcing himself on her as he engaged in vaginal and oral intercourse, according to charging documents. At the conclusion of the rape, he used the same Honda to drive the woman back to the area near the Charles Village Pub.

The woman later called police, and officers responded to Union Memorial Hospital at about 10:18 p.m. Detectives from the Special Investigation Section, Sex Offense Unit took control of the investigation, and the woman was taken to Mercy Medical Center where a sexual assault forensic exam was conducted.

After using cellphone data to confirm that the woman’s exchange from the Lyft vehicle to the Honda happened in the 2700 block of Lovegrove Street, police obtained security footage from a nearby Johns Hopkins University owned parking garage. The video showed the Honda Crosstour with a brake light out. Using Maryland Vehicle Administration records, detectives cross referenced all registered Honda Crosstours, as well as MVA license photos of each vehicle’s owner. While perusing these results, detectives came upon Barnes’ photo, which matched the description of the rapist provided by the victim.

Police learned that Barnes worked as a Special Police Officer, working Hospital Security for the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore. In that role, he wore a navy blue uniform with a gun belt, though Barnes is not armed in his role as a security guard.

Originally, Baltimore Police said the woman told investigators she believed she was raped by a police officer, as her attacker looked and acted the part. This prompted police to launch an internal investigation which resulted in 115 patrol cars being pulled from service. All such cars have since been restored.

Online court records show this isn't the first time Barnes has been accused of impersonating a police officer. In November of 1995, Baltimore County Police charged him for committing the same offense. A court later found Barnes guilty and handed down a six month suspended sentence.

In a statement, the University of Maryland Medical Center said, "We are shocked and saddened by the allegations, and are cooperating fully with the investigation."

A spokesperson later confirmed that Barnes had been suspended without pay.

Barnes faces several charges, including first-degree rape, second-degree rape, third-degree sex offense, fourth-degree sex offense-sexual contact, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, impersonating a police officer, and perverted practice.

Though he is named in the charging documents, no charges have been filed against the Lyft driver.

In a statement to WMAR-2 News, a Lyft spokesman said the company has since deactivated the driver amid the allegations;

"Safety is fundamental to Lyft and the behavior described is deeply disturbing. There is absolutely no place on the Lyft platform for violence or harassment of any kind. Immediately upon learning of the allegations, we deactivated this driver. We have been in touch with law enforcement to assist with their investigation."