Palm Beach Uber driver convicted of raping female passenger

A 58 year old man was convicted on Friday 16 March of raping a female passenger he picked up after SunFest, Florida, last year. The verdict took a panel of 5 men and one woman nine hours of deliberations over two days to reach a decision in a Palm Beach County courtroom. Gary Kitchings faced a week long trial after being accused of raping his victim at her home. The jury heard that on route to her destination, Kitchings locked the car doors and threatened to shoot her unless she performed a sex act and swallow his urine while he drove. Kitchings claimed it was consensual sex, and stated that his passenger was flirtatious towards him. He doesn't deny having sex with his passenger but said the only thing he was guilty of was cheating on his wife. Kitchings says he was "flattered" by the attention given to him by a younger woman and when she asked him if he would cheat, he wasn't opposed to any of it. Following the attack, Kitchings went back to continue working for Uber, picking up fares. After his arrest, Kitchings lost his job as an Uber driver. Prosecutors said the woman had no reason to make up the allegations and go through a very invasive hospital examination, and then put herself through testifying before strangers in court. A recording of the victims phone call to the police following the attack was played in court. Kitchings was found guilty of three counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon or physical force, one count of burglary with assault or battery, and false imprisonment. He will be sentenced on May 18 and could face up to life in jail. Original source: Sun Sentinel

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