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I-Team looks into violent past of Kalamazoo cab driver accused of rape

Updated: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 |
I-Team looks into violent past of Kalamazoo cab driver accused of rape story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The I-Team is looking into a cab driver who is facing multiple charges, after being accused of a brutal attack on one of his fares.

38-year-old Robert Prescott is a felon who was out on parole.

But now, he's in the Kalamazoo County Jail on 15 felony charges, including criminal sexual conduct and carrying a firearm.

Tuesday night, his alleged victim told her story exclusively to the Newschannel 3 I-Team. She feels as though there is a much larger issue in play, and is hoping to help other women avoid what happened to her.

The alleged victim says she received rides from Prescott in his taxi about five times in the last few months.

She says he seemed sweet and lonely, and she never had any indication of his violent past.

She believes Godspeed Taxi never should have allowed Prescott to be a driver, and she wants the City of Kalamazoo to mandate change.

On Sunday, January 12, Prescott picked up the alleged victim near 9th and Stadium in Oshtemo, but she says Prescott wasn't heading to her house.

"He was like, 'well, we're going to hang out at my house.'" she recalled. "I was like, 'no we're not!'"

She says Prescott ended up driving his Godspeed Taxi to a parking lot off Stockbridge, where he forced her into the back of the cab and raped her.

The alleged victim says Prescott dropped her off at her home at around 6:30, and the police were there by 7:00.

"He was texting me and calling me when the police were here," she said of Prescott.

Kalamazoo Public Safety waited outside Godspeed Taxi and arrested Prescott around 11:30.

Michael Bowling, a Southern Baptist minister of over 30 years, started Godpseed Taxi in 2009, and says Prescott started working for the company late last year.

He says one of his clients recommended Prescott and called, asking that Bowling hire him.

Bowling says at that point he didn't know much about Prescott's criminal record.

It goes back 20 years and includes felony assault of a police officer in 2006, and also a guilty plea to assault and battery charges less than three months ago.

Bowling says seeing Prescott's criminal record probably wouldn't have made a difference.

"That's what I do; I look to minister to people to help them get their lives back on track," he said.

"In this country, we're innocent until proven guilty, and until I find out different, I will support him," Bowling added.

That's part of the reason the alleged victim is so upset.

"If they would have done their due diligence on checking into him, this would have never happened to me," she said, adding that she hasn't slept a full night since the attack.

When reached for comment earlier Tuesday, City Commissioner Stephanie Moore offered the following statement:

"As a champion for equal opportunities for everyone, I believe in second chances.  In every situation it is important that you put the right people in the right position according to their skill set, especially when providing direct services. 

Of course I support policy that is written not to exclude but to include everyone and provide equal opportunity for all.

Currently the City of Kalamazoo no longer ask the question on our resumes "have you been convicted."  Individuals can apply for employment and enter the process based on their skill and work history.  Of course background checks and drug test are a part of the hiring process and people are considered on a case by case basis."

Moore says she believes the conversation needs to be continued by the Kalamazoo City Commission to do everything possible to protect consumers.

Prescott faces 15 felony charges, and is next due in court on February 18.
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Last Update on October 20, 2014 17:25 GMT

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