Another Chicago Uber Driver Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Passenger

uberxWhile Uber claims to have recently bolstered its security and safety policies, reports of drivers allegedly assaulting passengers continue to make headlines.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the driver picked up his passenger, a 21-year-old male, in the Lakeview section of the city.

The driver then asked the passenger to sit in the front seat because he claimed the back seat was too dirty.

As the ride got underway, the driver, who outweighed the passenger by more than 100 pounds, allegedly forcibly kissed the passenger and grabbed his leg, touching his genitals through his pants.

The passenger told police that he repeatedly demanded to be let out of the car but the driver, a father of three, refused and told him that no one knew where he was.

At some point when the car had come to a stop, the driver allegedly choked the passenger, who says he almost passed out from lack of air. Whenever the passenger would try to exit the car, the driver would speed up so that it was unsafe to jump from the moving vehicle.

The passenger says the driver unzipped his own pants and attempted to push the passenger’s head into the the driver’s crotch.

Eventually the driver agreed to take the passenger home. He later contacted the police and identified the driver in a photo lineup.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the driver allegedly admitted to groping the passenger and exposing himself.

He’s been charged with criminal sexual assault, unlawful restraint and kidnapping, and was ordered held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

This is the second sexual assault allegation made against a Chicago Uber driver in recent weeks. On Dec. 30, a driver was accused of assaulting a passenger in the car and then again at the driver’s apartment. In that instance, the driver only had a temporary Illinois license and was using his wife’s Uber account to pick up passengers.

While violence between taxi drivers and passengers is nothing new — there’s a reason that cabs in NYC and other cities have those thick plexiglass dividers between front and back seats — there is a particular focus on Uber and other ridesharing services as they market a product that is supposed to be more consumer-friendly than a taxi you flag down on the corner.

Incidents like the two Chicago cases are rare, but they fuel arguments from Uber detractors who claim the company doesn’t do enough to screen its drivers or ensure passenger safety.