Uber driver accused of raping Jupiter woman is granted bail

7:30 p.m Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 Local
Gary Kitchings talks with a public defender in court May 9, 2017 Kitchings is charged with kidnapping, sexual battery and burglary. The Uber driver is accused of sexually battery on a female customer in his car and then again after he arrived at her home. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

An Uber driver accused of raping a Jupiter woman this summer has been granted bail, making possible his release from jail, as his attorneys continue to investigate a prior rape allegation that the alleged victim made in New York against another man.

Court records show that Circuit Judge Krista Marx granted a bond request for Gary Kitchings, 58, who has been held at the Palm Beach County jail without bail since May, when a then 37-year-old woman said Kitchings assaulted her when she used the ride-sharing app to get him to take her home from SunFest.

Online records indicate that Marx granted Kitchings’ request but lists no other information. His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Stephen Abruzow, had asked for a $20,000 bail, saying in his request that the case amounted to “he said, she said” and “the ‘she said’ credibility is in serious jeopardy.”

Abruzow said he learned during a pretrial interview with the woman that she accused another man in New York of rape in an encounter nearly a year before she met Kitchings

The woman told Abruzow the New York incident was an online date gone wrong, but Abruzow in court records said he researched the alleged incident and learned through a New York Post article that the woman had been accused in that case of working as a prostitute specializing in sadomasochistic acts. The woman, Abruzow said, denied working as a prostitute.

Marx recently also approved Abruzow’s request to re-interview the woman. A trial had been set to begin in the case on March 2, but in court records filed Wednesday the trial was reset to March 12 with Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath.

According to arrest reports, the woman said Kitchings forced her to perform a sex act in his car as he drove her home, then followed her into her house and raped her there. Parts of the woman’s recounting of the alleged attack include acts that Aruzow said in court records have sadomasochistic elements.

In interviews with police, Kitchings said the two had sex but it was consensual.

“If anyone was the aggressor, it was her,” Kitchings said in an interview with police, saying that they were even “huggy kissy” after the encounter. “She came on to me and I’m a guy. I’m stupid and I did that.”

Kitchings is married, and his wife at the hearing for his bond request said he would return home to live with her if released on bail.

In addition to driving for Uber, he was a “house parent” at KidSanctuary in suburban West Palm Beach. Officials at KidSanctuary’s parent agency, Palm Beach Gardens-based Place of Hope, said days after the arrest that they fired him.