A jury found a now-former RideAustin driver guilty of sexually assaulting a passenger last year.
Osmani Limonta-Diaz, 41, was sentenced Friday to 11 years in prison for the sexual assault on June 10, 2017. According to an affidavit, the victim used the ride-hailing app to get back to her central Austin home after “socializing and drinking.”
The victim was sitting in the back passenger seat during the ride. When they arrived, she told police Limonta-Diaz turned around and said, “I’m going to f— you.” The victim said they struggled in the back seat and that’s when he assaulted her.
Court records showed Limonta-Diaz’s DNA was found on the victim.
During the sentencing phase Friday, the victim told the jury ever since the attack, she has developed a fear of people around her. She also said she has not been able to come to terms with what happened.
The jury started deliberating Limonta-Diaz’s punishment around 10:30 a.m. Friday and sentencing was announced just after 2 p.m.
The verdict was a win for the prosecution. Assistant district attorney Jeremy Sylestine said, “I think that they looked at the case intelligently and came to this conclusion on their own and we’re glad for that.”
The victim said during the allocution phase of the trial, since the night of the attack she has felt numb, “I am not fine. I have not been fine for a very long time, and I will not be fine for a very long time.”
She asked, “How do I heal from the feeling that I let this happen to me? Did I fail to protect myself when I had tried so, so hard to be safe?”
The defense says the jury got it wrong, arguing it was consensual. Defense attorney Jackie Wood said her client drove in Cuba for 10 years without incident, and another five in Austin without incident.
Wood said, “This was obviously something very out of his character to — I guess, take an opportunity that obviously he should not have taken, but certainly, we never believed this was a crime at all.”
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