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Crime

Ride-hailing driver pleads guilty to sexually assaulting 13-year-old at a Palm Desert resort

Ismael Gaspar
Ismael Gaspar

A ride-hailing driver pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl at a Palm Desert resort.

Ismael Gaspar of Cathedral City pleaded guilty to one count each of burglary and committing lewd acts with a child under 14 years old, and two counts each of oral copulation of a minor under 14 years old and providing a minor with a controlled substance.

Gaspar is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13. He faces a maximum sentence of 16 years in state prison.

Gaspar was arrested March 26, 2018, on suspicion of sexually assaulting the teen days earlier at the Marriott Shadow Ridge Resort.

According to a trial brief prepared by Deputy District Attorney Gypsy Yeager, Gaspar met the girl two days before the alleged assault when he picked her up for a ride.

The two allegedly smoked methamphetamine before exchanging contact information, during which she told the defendant her true age, according to the prosecution.

Gaspar drove for Lyft at the time, according to court documents. A Lyft spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that the company removed Gaspar from the platform "as soon as we learned about this incident.''

The pair allegedly met up again on March 20, 2018. According to the trial brief, he brought her roses and the two smoked marijuana before they went to the resort, where the defendant allegedly broke into the gym and sexually assaulted the victim inside.

The teen "told the defendant she did not want to have sex, but she
was afraid if she didn't, the defendant would kidnap her and steal her
belongings," the brief says.

Gaspar has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County.

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Jesus Reyes

City News Service

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