Fairfield Cab driver gets 2-year jail term for sex assault
Updated 1:00 pm, Saturday, February 18, 2012
The young Fairfield woman who stood shaking with emotion Friday at Bridgeport Superior Court still could not fathom how it could have happened.
Yes, she had been intoxicated. But she made the right decision not to drive home. She took a taxi, but then recounted the sexual abuse she suffered at the driver's hands. For that, the driver will spend two years in prison.
"I did the appropriate thing that night, my civic duty," she told Judge Robert Devlin Jr., her voice cracking with emotion. "I did not drive home that night and in the end I was punished for it and I was taken advantage of."
Across the courtroom, the former Fairfield Cab driver -- Bruce Northrop -- showed no emotion as the young woman spoke.
Northrop had previously pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault, admitting he had taken advantage of the intoxicated 18-year-old victim and sexually assaulted her in his cab in May 2010.
"There is no doubt you took advantage of a highly intoxicated young woman that was half your age and that is a deplorable thing to do," the judge said. He sentenced the 42-year-old Northrop to eight years in prison, suspended after he serves two years, and followed by 10 years probation.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit by Fairfield Police Detective Kerry Dalling, the young woman complained last February to police she had been sexually assaulted by Northrop the previous May.
The woman said she had been at a friend's house where she drank a half-dozen shots of vanilla vodka. Too drunk to drive home, she called Fairfield Cab Co. for a ride, the affidavit states.
The woman recalled that the name of the driver was Bruce and that as he drove her home she began to cry and complained to him she did not have a date for the prom, the affidavit continues. She said at some point she passed out and when she woke up Northrop was in top of her, engaging in sex. She said Northrop offered to stop to get a condom, but she told him she wanted to go home, the affidavit states.
Police said Northrop admitted having sex with the woman, who he called "a hottie," in his cab but claimed she was the aggressor. He said he agreed to have sex with her because his mother had died recently and he wanted someone to be with, the affidavit states.
The state Department of Transportation plans to shut down Fairfield Cab -- Northrop's employer at the time of the incident -- saying the business was "operating a free-for-all with no oversight." Northrop is the second employee to plead guilty to a criminal offense. Another employee pleaded guilty to buying alcohol for minors who were his passengers.