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Uber driver Gary Kitchings found guilty of sexual battery

Posted at 1:15 PM, Mar 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-16 18:53:53-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.-- After deliberating over the span of two days, the jury in the trial of an Uber driver accused of rape returned a verdict Friday afternoon.

The panel found Gary Kitchings guilty on five of six counts. He was found not guilty on one charge of sexual battery with a deadly weapon. 

He was accused of sexually battering a passenger he drove home from SunFest last year.

During the trial, the jury heard testimony from the accuser who testified that Kitchings assaulted her In both the car and then at her house and threatened her with a gun.

Kitchings testified in his own defense and said that the sexual encounter was consensual. 

The victim, who did not want to be identified, said she was very happy with the verdict and grateful to the jury and Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office.

“It speaks volumes about the shift in the rape climate and to know that they usually blame the victim and this time they didn’t do that and so it's very excited and we’re really happy with the jury’s verdict,” said state prosecutor Marci Rex. 

“Obviously we’re disappointed in the way this turned out, said defense attorney Stephen Arbuzow. "We fully believe Mr. Kitchings’s innocence. We’re going to file the appeal. We believe he has some really good issues. At this point, we just have to focus on sentencing and getting the appeal ready.” 

The sentencing for Kitchings is scheduled for May 18 at 9 a.m.


Story updated to clarify Kitchings was found guilty of sexual battery not assault.