By Joe Johnson
A Greene County man who was accused of posing as an Uber driver when he sexually assaulted two University of Georgia students last year recently pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was sentenced to eight years in prison, according to Clarke County Superior Court records.
Emerson Redd, 57, of Greensboro was arrested in April 2018 for assaulting the students after picking them up in downtown Athens, according to Athens-Clarke County police.
He was subsequently indicted for rape, criminal attempt to commit rape and two counts of sexual battery, according to court records.
The first victim to come forward was a 21-year-old UGA student who said she was standing in front of a bar on East Washington Street when Redd pulled up in a minivan. She entered the vehicle under the belief Redd was the Uber driver she had been waiting on, according to police.
The student sensed something was wrong when noticing the car did not have a GPS device and other common identifiers of ride-share vehicles, according to police. When Redd allegedly touched her inappropriately, she demanded to be let out and he let her go, police said.
About an hour later, a 25-year-old UGA student got into Redd’s van downtown under similar circumstances, but when she realized he wasn’t an Uber driver and asked to be let out Redd allegedly drove her to an undisclosed location and raped her, according to police.
On Oct. 16, Redd entered into a negotiated agreement with the DA’s office in which he pleaded guilty to two counts each of criminal attempt to commit rape and sexual battery, according to the memorandum of plea agreement filed in court.
District Attorney said he believed that justice was served in light of some evidentiary problems, particularly the alleged rape victim's recollection of events.
" Based on the evidence, it was an appropriate disposition," Mauldin said.
"The victims were in agreement," he added.
In accordance with the plea bargain, Western Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Lisa Lott sentenced Redd to 30 years, with the first eight years to be served in confinement.
The judge also ordered that Redd could no longer operate a taxi or ride-sharing business or come within 1,000 feet of any college campus. He was also barred from Athens-Clarke County, according to the sentencing document.