Uber driver accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting intoxicated female passenger

Richard WintonContact Reporter

A 46-year-old Uber driver with felony record has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and kidnapping after an intoxicated passenger was taken to a hotel and attacked.

Los Angeles police said Monday that Alaric Spence picked up a 24-year woman who had been out drinking in downtown Los Angeles.

She fell unconscious in his car, said LAPD Robbery Homicide Capt. William Hayes.

Instead of taking to her home to Hollywood, the driver allegedly took her to a motel on Lankershim Boulevard and sexually assaulted her, Hayes said.

Hayes said the victim awoke to find herself in a strange motel and remembered falling asleep in the back of the Uber car.

“There is a video showing him carrying her into the hotel,” Hayes said.

Police said it’s possible there are other victims and urged anyone with information to come forward. Spence was driving a silver 2015 Nissan Sentra with the license plate No. 7XUX293.

Nissan Sentra identified as Uber vehicle of Alaric Spence in alleged kidnap and sex assault (LAPD)

Spence, 46, of North Hollywood has five prior felony convictions for narcotics possession and narcotics possession for sale, Hayes said. He had worked for Uber for six months.

Uber in a statement said it is fully supporting the LAPD investigation and has banned the driver. “ No person should ever have to experience the violent act that’s been reported to police,” the company said.

Spence’s prior narcotics felony convictions are from 1990s, records show. Uber follows California law that forbids the hiring of drivers who are convicted of any felony in the last seven years.

The arrest marks latest sexual assault allegations to involve a driver for the ride-hailing service.

Earlier this month, an Uber driver was accused of sexually attacking a passenger during a ride in the Bay Area. Leonid Beker of San Francisco was taken into custody on suspicion of sexual battery, according to the Moraga Police Department.

In April, an Uber driver in Orange County was charged with raping a passenger who was riding home from a work-related event, authorities said.

The alleged rape occurred March 30, when Angel Sanchez picked up a woman at a company gathering in Newport Beach, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Sanchez drove the woman near her home in Santa Ana and sexually assaulted her in his 2016 Toyota Sienna, prosecutors alleged.

Last year, a West Hollywood woman sued Uber Technologies, alleging that the ride-hailing company’s negligence led to her being raped by an Uber driver.

The incident allegedly occurred July 21, 2014, when the plaintiff took an Uber to her boyfriend’s home after a night out. According to the lawsuit, she never made it to his house, and the last thing she remembers was taking a sip from a water bottle provided by the driver while in the passenger seat of his car.

The UCLA Rape Treatment Center matched the DNA found on the plaintiff to a Uber driver who pleaded no contest to a charge of criminal sexual battery.

In January, state legislators enacted a law that forbids companies including Uber and Lyft from hiring drivers who are registered sex offenders, have been convicted of violent felonies or have had a DUI conviction within the last seven years.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sex-crime-uber-20170626-story.html