A Richmond man working as a Lyft driver was convicted Thursday of sexually assaulting an intoxicated Chesterfield County woman after he was hired to give her a ride home from downtown Richmond, where she had been socializing with friends.
Robert W. Sauvager, 51, pleaded guilty in Chesterfield Circuit Court to aggravated sexual battery of the 27-year-old woman, who was assaulted in the rear seat of Sauvager’s car on Nov. 3 after he drove her home. In exchange for his plea, the prosecution withdrew an accompanying charge of object sexual penetration.
After finding him guilty, Judge Frederick G. Rockwell III ordered Sauvager to undergo a psychosexual evaluation, which examines a defendant’s sexual behavior and an assessment of his future risk for reoffending.
According to a summary of evidence presented by Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Erin Barr, the victim was with friends in downtown Richmond on the evening of Nov. 2 and into the early morning hours of Nov. 3. By the end of the night, the woman had become extremely intoxicated and incoherent, and her friends summoned a Lyft ride to drive her to her Chesterfield home, Barr said.
The woman has little memory of getting into the Lyft driver’s car or returning home due to the level of her intoxication, Barr told the court. When she regained consciousness in the backseat of the car outside her home, her clothes had been removed and Sauvager was on top of her, Barr added.
The woman then pushed Sauvager off, and as she did, Sauvager told her that the sexual contact was “consensual,” the prosecutor said. The woman then ran into her home and went to sleep.
After she woke up later that morning, the woman reported the incident to family members, Barr said. She went to a hospital about 9 a.m. to report she had been sexually assaulted, police said.
Sauvager told a detective in an interview that his passenger had been extremely drunk and was hallucinating during the ride, and had been one of the most intoxicated passengers he had driven. Sauvager admitted there was sexual contact but claimed she initiated it, Barr said in her summary.
Through a Lyft electronic receipt, police were able to identify the vehicle in which the woman rode and her driver after investigators contacted the company, police said. Sauvager was arrested Nov. 6.
Sauvager, who lives in the 1400 block of Williamsburg Road, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced May 27. He is being represented by defense attorney John Rockecharlie.