Uber driver sexually assaulted Chicago passenger, prosecutors say

By  Erica Demarest and Joe Ward | July 14, 2016 2:19pm 

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — An Uber driver has been charged with sexually assaulting a 23-year-old passenger who was occasionally unconscious during a ride last month.

Alexander Marrero, 35, picked up the victim on Division Street about 1 a.m. June 26, Assistant State's Attorney Elena Gottreich said during a bond hearing Thursday.

The victim had been out drinking with friends and relatives, who called an Uber for the woman when she became intoxicated, prosecutors said.

According to Gottreich, the victim doesn't remember getting into Marrero's red Hyundai — but she did recall waking up in his car with her shorts and underwear around her ankles. Marrero was assaulting her, prosecutors said.

The victim blacked out again and soon found herself inside her Lakeview apartment with her roommate, Gottreich said.

The victim later complained of vaginal pain and bleeding, and was taken to a nearby hospital, where a rape kit was collected, according to authorities.

According to prosecutors, the victim's friends had contacted the roommate to tell her the victim was on her way home. The victim's pals sent over an Uber screenshot that included a photo of Marrero's red Hyundai.

As the 24-year-old roommate waited outside, she noticed Marrero's car parked down the block, Gottreich said. When no one exited the vehicle for some time, the roommate walked over; she could hear the victim crying inside.

The roommate knocked on one of the car's tinted windows, prosecutors said, and could see Marrero turned toward the center of the car. He then sped off.

Marrero returned several minutes later and helped walk the victim toward her waiting roommate, prosecutors noted. As soon as the women were inside their apartment, the victim told her roommate what had happened.

Marrero, of the 500 block of North Troy Street, is charged with aggravated kidnapping and criminal sexual assault.

He has been permanently banned from driving with Uber, and only drove for the company a "few" times, company spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.

"What's been described is deplorable and something no should ever go through," Anderson said in a statement. "We're working with local authorities to support their investigation and proceedings in any way possible."

According to prosecutors, the red Hyundai Marrero was driving is registered to the Uber app through his wife's account.

Marrero's public defender said he lives with his wife and three children, an 8-year-old and 5-year-old twins. He works part-time as an auto mechanic and is the kids' primary caregiver; their mother works full-time, the attorney said.

Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. on Thursday ordered Marrero held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160714/north-center/uber-driver-sexually-assaulted-drunken-passenger-prosecutors-say