A Colorado ride-share driver is accused of being a prolific sexual abuser of women — and authorities fear there may be more victims.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that John Pastor-Mendoza, 41, attacked 10 different women in incidents from 2018 to 2022.
“Pastor-Mendoza allegedly responded as the driver when the women used a ride-sharing app to request a ride,” the statement said. “Prosecutors claim that he would either sexually assault his female victims in his vehicle or take them to his home and assault them there. On July 21, 2022, Denver police received a CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) match from evidence collected from three victims linking Pastor-Mendoza to the alleged sexual assaults.”
Carolyn Tyler, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office, told Law&Crime that Pastor-Mendoza is a ride-share driver, though she did not confirm for which company.
The redacted arrest warrant described several instances in which women took apparent ride-share vehicles. Authorities did not describe the associated ride-share company in each instance, but noted that some other people knew Pastor-Mendoza as a Lyft driver.
“The behavior described is absolutely appalling, and the driver has been permanently removed from the Lyft community,” a Lyft spokesperson told Law&Crime in a statement. “We have been in touch with law enforcement to assist with their investigation and stand ready to provide support in an ongoing capacity.”
“Based on the information provided in the affidavit, the suspect has never used the Uber platform to drive and has NEVER been a driver,” Uber spokesperson Navideh Forghani said in an email.
Pastor-Mendoza faces 41 felony counts:
- 10 counts of kidnapping his victim to commit a sexual offense
- eight counts of sexual assault
- four counts of sexual assault
- six counts of attempted sexual assault
- twelve counts of attempted sexual assault
- one count of robbery
Prosecutors noted 10 incidents:
September 16, 2018 – The Matchbox, 2625 Larimer Street
December 29 – 30, 2018 – Beta Nightclub, 1909 Blake Street
March 9, 2019 – LoDo area
March 17, 2019 – LoDo’s Bar and Grill, 1946 Market Street
July 27, 2019 – Neon Baby, 1942 Market Street
August 15, 2021 – The Irish Rover Pub, 54 South Broadway
September 23, 2021- Speer Boulevard & 13th Street
March 4, 2022 – Tracks Denver, 3500 Walnut Street
May 13 – 14, 2022 – Tracks Denver, 3500 Walnut Street
July 8 – 9, 2022 – Tracks Denver, 3500 Walnut Street
The women described in the arrest warrant described blacking out after drinking alcohol. They allegedly woke up in either a residence or vehicle and encountered a man. Suspect descriptions were roughly consistent: details included him being Hispanic or Latino with short or curly hair and ranging in age from about 35 to his 40s. He spoke with an accent, the women said.
One woman described him as standing 5 feet, 5 inches. Another said he was overweight.
The alleged victim of the March 4, 2022 incident said she remembered drinking but not enough to cause blackout or amnesia.
“The victim blacked out and woke up in a bed in an unknown apartment with the suspect who was touching the victim,” authorities said about the woman linked to the Sept. 16, 2018 allegation.
The women described losing intimate personal items, usually phones and underwear.
When performing a search of Pastor-Mendoza’s home, authorities allegedly discovered a cardboard box with 18 phones.
Several victims reported injuries. The March 4 victim said she “became aware that great force had been used against her by the suspect during the assault, and she believed she had been in a struggle.” Authorities redacted her injures.
Another woman connected to an allegation from July 9, 2020 said she had bruises on her arms and torso.
“She did not suspect that she was given any drug other than alcohol on that night,” authorities said.
Denver police ask that anyone with information or is a possible victim to call (720) 913-2000.
Note: We added a statement from Lyft.
[Image via Denver District Attorney’s Office]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]