KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV, KSMO) — A Kansas City man is charged with a felony after investigators say he posed as a rideshare driver then sexually assaulted a woman. Joel Farris is charged with sodomy or attempted sodomy. His bond is set at $150,000.
As restrictions are lifted at area bars and restaurants, police and rideshare companies recommend that customers match the license plate number, car make and model, and the driver’s photo before getting into a vehicle. They also suggest asking the driver to confirm your name.
According to court records, Kansas City Missouri street camera footage showed the woman getting into a dark colored car around 1:45AM on May 2nd near a bar at 39th and Main Street. She told police the suspect told her that he was her rideshare driver. Once inside the car, he touched her which made her uncomfortable.
She texted a friend, “SOS call me please.” The friend called her phone. The woman didn’t speak directly to her friend on the phone. The woman told the suspect to pull over because she needed to vomit. Once he pulled over, she ran from the car. She told police he followed, grabbed her and violently assaulted her. The woman says she forced herself to vomit during the assault to get him off her and he eventually let go.
Court records show police used street cameras to backtrack the previous locations of the vehicle the suspect drove which eventually led to the arrest of 30-year-old Farris.
“Sexual violence doesn’t happen because of something that a victim did or didn’t do,” The Director of Advocacy for the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault Victoria Pickering said. “You can do all the “right things” and still experience violence.”
MOCSA has a 24-hour crisis line available in both Kansas and Missouri to offer support and services for survivors. In Missouri, you can call (816) 531-0233. In Kansas, you can call (913) 642-0233. For more information visit mocsa.org/need-help
“I always want to shift our thinking away from how do we keep ourselves safe from violence to how do we support survivors when they have experienced something,” Pickering said. “How do we hold offenders accountable so that it doesn’t happen again to someone else?”
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