San Francisco Judge Revokes Bail for Suspected 'Rideshare Rapist'

Decision Means ICE Won't Be Immediately Involved in Case

Jenna Lane
July 17, 2018 - 6:10 pm
Suspected serial rapist appears in San Francisco court

A San Francisco judge has revoked bail for a suspected serial rapist, making it unlikely that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency will have a chance to deport Orlando Vilchez Lazo anytime soon. 

Hours before Lazo, 36, first appeared in court to face multiple rape and kidnapping charges, ICE signaled its readiness to return him to his native Peru. The agency criticized San Francisco's sanctuary policy, predicting that its request to detain Lazo would be ignored -- if he were released. 

Then San Francisco Superior Court Judge Braden Woods ordered Lazo held without bail, citing the lifetime prison sentence he would face if convicted. Lazo is scheduled to return to court on Thursday for arraignment.

After the brief hearing, Deputy Public Defender Eric Quandt said, "I'd urge the media not to become the spokesmen for ICE. ICE has made this case about sanctuary laws and immigration status, and that has nothing to do with the charges that are being brought by the district attorney."

A spokesman for District Attorney George Gascon, Alex Bastian, downplayed the relevance of Lazo's immigration status. 

"The defendant has no criminal history that I can tell," Bastian said. "What's important here is that the police department and the district attorney's office really worked well together in ensuring that this case was investigated properly and charged properly. That's why the defendant is sitting in custody and is facing such serious charges."

Investigators say Lazo posed as a driver for ride-hailing services in order to prey upon women outside San Francisco nightclubs and bars, once in 2013 and three times this year. According to a 12-count felony complaint, Lazo used a knife in the three most recent incidents.

"It's completely premature to be talking about the facts as alleged," Quandt said.

Quandt argued against a media request to take photographs and video of Tuesday's proceeding, saying images of the defendant in his orange jail jumpsuit would be prejudicial in a case that could hinge on accusers identifying him. Prosecutor Lailah Morris countered that DNA evidence links Lazo to the crimes. She added that the San Francisco Police Department previously released a booking photograph. The judge allowed the cameras.