Uber driver pleads guilty in Santa Ana rape case involving woman passenger

Jason Rodas (Photo by Santa Ana Police Department in 2020)

A 32-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday and was immediately sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison for sexually assaulting one of his customers while driving for Uber in Santa Ana, as well as a domestic violence incident in Garden Grove.

Jason Rodas of Garden Grove pleaded guilty to single counts of assault with intent to commit a sex offense, attempted forcible rape and criminal threats, and two counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. He was given credit for 1,033 days behind bars.

A 51-year-old woman called the ride-hailing service at about 4 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2020, to get to work, police said.

Rodas responded to the call, but after picking her up and while en route to her destination, he told the woman that he would not charge her for the ride, police said.

He asked "several questions about her sex life," which frightened the woman, and when she demanded he just take her to work, he threatened to throw her out of the car if she called police, authorities said.

Rodas drove the woman to 300 S. Minnie St., where she jumped out of the car and tried to run away, but he caught her, then choked and sexually assaulted her, police said.

Rodas also admitted to a domestic violence offense in Garden Grove. A 37-year-old woman in an "on-again, off-again relationship" with the defendant said he choked her on Aug. 1, 2020, and began issuing a slew of threats on social media and in text messages from Sept. 1-4, according to Garden Grove police.