SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield man who posed as a rideshare driver and assaulted women in 2018 was sentenced in court Friday.

Tyson Fairley was indicted for rape, sodomy and sexual abuse in 2018. a judge dismissed the sexual abuse indictments in 2021 during Fairley’s bench trial.

Fairley was sentenced to ten years in prison for the charge of rape and ten years for the charge of sodomy. These sentences will run consecutively, so Fairley was sentenced to 20 years behind bars total. This is what the prosecution recommended.

What happened at the sentencing hearing

At the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor said Fairley deserved the 20-year sentence and called him, “A 34-year-old predator preying on college girls, a danger to every woman in the area.”

A victim appeared via webcam in the courtroom and said the rest of her life will be affected. She said she goes days without sleeping and that what she’s dealing with is “too much to bear,” and said her family went through this trauma with her.

Fairley’s defense argued Fairley had no prior criminal record, has a strong work history, and is low risk. The defense also said this case has been devastating to Fairley and his family. Fairley’s mother, brother and two sisters were at Friday’s hearing.

Fairley’s mother asked the court to consider he has no criminal past and requested the minimum sentence.

Fairley also spoke at his sentencing hearing, thanking his friends and family. Fairley said, “I did not rape this woman, but I know I am the source of great pain for her family. I endeavor to be a benefit to society.”

Background of the fake Lyft driver case

Springfield Police said Fairley preyed on women leaving the bars downtown by offering them a free ride and then assaulting them. 

According to a probable cause statement in the case, one woman told police she was in a parking lot when he approached her and gave her a card with the name “Jay” on it.

She said he dropped her friends off first, took her home and went into her apartment with her. She went to the police the next morning. 

In another incident, a woman told police the same man assaulted her after offering her and a friend a free ride home, court documents state. 

Both victims told police they had not requested a driver through an app, but his card and stickers on his vehicle indicated he was a driver for a ride-sharing service.