A 19-year-old has been accused of robbing, choking and raping a female livery cab driver in East Elmhurst this past weekend, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.
The 32-year-old driver pulled up in front of 26-24 93rd St. sometime between 4 and 5 a.m. on Saturday when the passenger, Luis Barrija, of Jackson Heights, choked her and demanded her money, Brown said. While demanding the money Barrija said, “I am in a gang that robs and rapes people. I am the leader.”
The victim then handed over about $100 in cash and Barrija allegedly tried to pull her into the backseat of the cab while continuing to threaten her life.
Barrija then choked the victim with one hand and told her that he had a knife and would kill her if she did not listen to his demands, according to Brown. He then raped her.
The cab driver suffered bruising and redness on her neck, chest and wrists from the force used by Barrija, according to the charges.
“The allegations in this case chronicle a frightening ordeal of mental, physical and sexual violence. Hopefully the young woman who was brutally victimized will rest easier in knowing that her alleged rapist has been brought to justice and will be vigorously prosecuted,” Brown said. “However, even after the physical abuse has stopped, the psychological trauma caused by sexual assault can be severe and long lasting.”
Barrija is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on rape, robbery and assault charges. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.