Livery driver accused of raping 12-year-old passenger in Brooklyn

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- An unlicensed livery cab driver is under arrest after allegedly raping a 12-year-old passenger.

The incident was reported around 6 p.m. Monday after the girl was picked up near Myrtle and Carlton avenues in Brooklyn.

Police say the victim was visiting her grandmother to pick up a bicycle, and her mother had called the car service to pick her up and bring her home.

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Authorities say the driver, 32-year-old Rafael Martinez, pulled a gun from the glove compartment, loaded it with bullets, and told the victim, "If you say anything, these bullets are for you."

He allegedly jumped in the back seat, and as she tried to push him away, Martinez punched her in the face multiple times and slammed her head against the window, causing her to lose consciousness, authorities said.

When she regained consciousness, she was being raped, court documents said.

After the attack, Martinez allegedly told her, "If you tell anybody, I know where you live, I'll come to get you and your family."

He then drove her to another location and raped her again before taking her home.

Authorities say GPS data recovered from the vehicle corroborated that the vehicle stopped.

Martinez was arrested Tuesday and is facing charges of rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse, endangering the welfare of a child, menacing and assault.

"We have commenced an investigation on the Driver and Dispatcher as appropriate," the TLC said in a statement. "Needless to say, we are extremely disturbed that a passenger, a minor no less, has been harmed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the child and her family."

On Thursday, the TLC said Martinez has never held a TLC license and was operating illegally at the time of the alleged rape.

"The accused, Mr. Martinez, has never held a NYC TLC License, was operating illegally, and should also be held accountable for impersonating a TLC Licensee," the agency said. "TLC-Licensed Drivers are among the hardest working people in New York City, and it is incorrect to call Mr. Martinez, who has been charged with unspeakable crimes, a cab, taxi, or livery driver since he has never actually been one."

As a result, the TLC moved to suspend and revoke the license of the Brooklyn-based car service that employed Martinez.

TLC requires all drivers and car services to undertake extensive and strict background checks, which include fingerprinting, fitness reviews, and criminal record searches, and TLC-Licensed Bases are required to check the TLC License database daily to ensure that the drivers they are dispatching are licensed and in good standing.

"Ignoring TLC regulations and illegally dispatching an unlicensed driver unnecessarily puts everyone at risk," TLC Commissioner and Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said. "We are deeply disturbed and saddened by the savage attack on an innocent child earlier this week and our hearts and prayers are with the child and family. Hundreds of TLC-Licensed Bases operate responsibly and in good faith in NYC and we will not put honest businesses or public safety in jeopardy by turning a blind eye to illegal operators."

Effective immediately, Evelyn Car Service, located at 587 Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn, is required to cease operations.

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