A Mastic Beach man has been charged with robbing and sexually assaulting a taxi driver who picked him up in Central Islip.

Suffolk County prosecutors said Alexander Cosgriff, 29, requested a taxi Sept. 19 and a driver picked him up and drove him to his destination in Central Islip. When she requested an $8 fare, prosecutors said, Cosgriff began arguing with her, threatened her with a belt and pushed her arm.

Authorities said Cosgriff stole $500 from the driver’s glove box and, as she called 911, he sexually assaulted her.

He ran from the car while the driver was on the phone with Suffolk County police, prosecutors said. He was arrested nearby.

The woman was treated at a hospital for injuries from the assault.

Cosgriff pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of robbery, aggravated sexual abuse, first-degree sexual abuse, attempted sexual abuse — all felonies — and misdemeanor forcible touching.

His attorney, Scott B. Zerner of Manhattan, said, "Mr. Cosgriff maintains his innocence, and his account of the events on the night in question are 180 degrees different from what is being presented by the prosecution." He declined to elaborate.

“The victim in this case was allegedly attacked, robbed and sexually assaulted for simply doing her job,” Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said in a statement. “Drivers should not have to work in fear while trying to earn a living.”

Cosgriff was ordered held on $150,000 cash bail or $300,000 bond. He is due back in court Nov. 2.

With Craig Schneider

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