Former Uber driver gets 22 years in prison

A woman claims Uber driver Gary Kitchings raped her after SunFest last year. (WPEC)

An Uber driver convicted on multiple counts of sexual battery of a passenger learned his punishment.

A judge sentenced Gary Kitchings to 22 years in prison on Wednesday.

The judge said she took into consideration the fact the 58-year-old has no criminal history as well as the fact that he contributed to the community for more than two decades, serving as a foster parent.

The decision came after several witnesses took the stand including the assault victim.

She told the judge that since Kitchings raped her, her life has changed in the worst possible way.

She said that she has nightmares every night and has not been able to return to work since the attack.

In May of last year, Kitchings picked up the woman as an Uber passenger at Sunfest in downtown West Palm Beach.

The woman said on the ride to her home in Jupiter, Kitchings groped her and ordered her to perform edgy sex acts on him.

She said Kitchings claimed to have a gun.

The woman said Kitchings then followed her inside her apartment, and again sexually attacked her.

Kitchings maintained it was she who started flirting and ultimately invited him in for consensual sex.

In March, jurors found Kitchings guilty of 3 of 4 counts of rape, burglary with battery, and false imprisonment.

During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, the judge also heard from Harold Davis, a former mentor who worked at A Place Of Hope where Kitchings and his wife were foster parents.

Davis spoke highly of Kitchings, saying that he positively impacted the lives of more than a hundred local kids within the foster system.

He said that while he wishes Kitchings didn’t put himself in “that situation,” he did not think differently about his friend.

Kitchings’ wife was also in the courtroom.

His attorney said that, “just because a man cheats, doesn’t mean a greater sentence should be imposed.”

The judge said Kitchings will get 401 days served towards his sentence.

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