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Haines City man described as 'neighborhood taxi' driver accused of groping teenager

Lorenzo De Jesus-Lopez.png
Posted at 7:22 AM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 07:41:16-04

A man in Haines City described as a "neighborhood taxi" driver is facing charges after a 16-year-old girl told police he groped her multiple times and offered to pay her for sex.

Haines City Police arrested Lorenzo De Jesus-Lopez, 43, on Tuesday. Police said that's the same day the teenager and her mother reported the incidents.

The victim told police she used De Jesus-Lopez's ride service several times during the past three years and on several occasions, she said he groped her thighs. Police said the victim also reported that De Jesus-Lopez asked to have sex with her twice. Each time she told the police De Jesus-Lopez touched her breasts.

On the two occasions, the victim told police De Jesus-Lopez took her to a dark construction site against her will while driving her home. Each time she said he got into the back seat and tried to get her to have sex with him, according to police. On one occasion, police said the victim reported that De Jesus-Lopez offered to pay her $600 for sex.

The victim said she told De Jesus-Lopez no each time, told him she didn't want him to touch her and asked to be taken home, police said.

De Jesus-Lopez was brought in for questioning on Tuesday night. Police said he initially denied the allegations but later in the interview, he admitted to touching the victim's breasts one time in the construction site parking lot.

De Jesus-Lopez is charged with two counts of committing an Unnatural or Lascivious Act, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of battery and one count of solicitation of prostitution.

“Anyone who thinks it is OK to prey on our city’s young people like this should know that we have ride share program just for you. But it goes straight to the Polk County Jail,” Interim Haines City Police Chief Loyd Stewart said. He also praised the teen's courage in reporting the incident.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on other incidents to come forward.