Man who allegedly posed as Uber driver charged with series of rapes, sex assaults

- A Santa Clarita man accused of posing as a ridehailing driver and sexually assaulting seven women over a 15-month period made his first court appearance Wednesday on more than two dozen felony charges and has his bail set at $10.3 million.

Nicolas Morales, 44, is scheduled to be arraigned March 8 at the Alhambra courthouse on 27 counts: nine counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of rape, five counts of sodomy by use of force, four counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object and one count each of assault with intent to commit a felony, attempted sodomy by use of force and attempted kidnapping to commit another crime.

The criminal complaint includes allegations of knife use and multiple victims.

Morales is accused of sexually assaulting seven women while falsely representing himself as a ridehailing driver in areas throughout Los Angeles County, including Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Alhambra, from October 2016 to January 2018, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Morales, who was arrested at his home last Friday by Alhambra police, could face up to 300 years to life in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration if convicted, according to the District Attorney's Office.

A neighbor told news outlets that Morales told her that he was an Uber driver and that he seemed "like a nice guy.'' Another neighbor said Morales had several cars and was constantly cleaning them, and was often seen with his children.

News outlets reported that Morales hired a private attorney, who stepped down when he learned at his client's court hearing that the case involved multiple rape allegations. A public defender was then appointed to represent Morales.

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