Charleston Uber Driver Accused Of Kidnapping, Rape

uberlogodogsA Charleston, S.C. Uber driver has been charged with kidnapping and forcible rape, after a female passenger accused him of demanding sexual favors as payment for her trip. She told police he then sexually assaulted her and kicked her out of the vehicle.

According to the arrest affidavit, via The Post and Courier, the driver picked up the woman and a male friend on Sunday night, and drove the man to his home in downtown Charleston. Though the woman got out of the car at that point as well, she was drunk and decided she didn’t want to walk home in the dark, so she asked the Uber driver if he could drop her off a few blocks away.

He started to drive — but not to her home, the police said. When she realized the car wasn’t headed in the right direction, she says he told her she’d have to pay with sexual favors. She says she offered him money, and asked repeatedly to be let out of the car, but that he yelled at her and demanded sex.

She told the police he then stopped the vehicle off the highway and attacked and sexually assaulted her. The arrest documents say he kicked her out of the vehicle afterwards, and that she was hit by a car when she ran onto the road to get help.

Charleston police responded to the scene, at which point she identified her alleged attacker. She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The suspect was arrested on Monday evening and admitted to offering the woman a ride when she was “too drunk,” and that he pulled off the road, kissed her, performed oral sex on her and then kicked her out.

An Uber spokeswoman said Tuesday that the driver in question was removed from the company’s platform, and that Uber is assisting authorities.

“Our hearts go out to the victim and her family as we investigate this incident,” she said.

Though Uber has become a popular alternative to traditional taxi services, this isn’t the first time the company has come under fire for not doing enough to ensure the safety of its passengers.

Earlier this month, Uber admitted that it’d failed to follow procedure when hiring a driver accused of rape in Dallas.

In other incidents, female passengers have reported being harassed and groped, held hostage, and physically assaulted by drivers.

Women aren’t alone in these kinds of allegations, either: In Chicago, a driver has been accused of sexually assaulting and choking a male passenger. Following multiple incidents of driver malfeasance in that city, Chicago Uber users will eventually have access to a “panic button” feature in their mobile app.

School teacher working as Uber driver accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting woman [The Post and Courier]