Sonoma County Cab Driver Arrested for Alleged Sexual Assault of Passenger
A Sonoma County cab driver has been arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a passenger last week, according to a press release by the Petaluma Police Department.
Late on the night of May 2, Petaluma PD officers responded to a report of a sexual assault on Bodega Avenue. The victim reported calling J’s Taxi requesting a ride from the downtown area to a residence on the west side of town. The victim stated that the driver, identified as 41-year-old Noel Ortiz Cortez, drove them to the requested destination, then entered the backseat area before they could get out and sexually assaulted them. After the assault, the victim was able to leave the cab and contact police.
Officers and detectives from the Petaluma Police Department Investigations Team located video evidence that corroborated the victim’s account. Forensic evidence was also recovered from Cortez and the taxi, police said.
Cortez was arrested on suspicion of rape by force and booked at the Sonoma County jail.
The Petaluma Police Department is conducting an ongoing investigation and has not released any further information related to the case. Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is encouraged to come forward and contact Detective Ronald Flores at Rflores@cityofpetaluma.org or by phone at 707-778-4450.