Uber driver who raped passenger then took a selfie with her jailed for 12 years

'The harm you did that night is incalculable,' says judge

An Uber driver who raped a passenger in the back of his car before taking a selfie with her, has been jailed for 12 years.

Muhammad Khurram Durrani dropped the 27-year-old woman at her home address on the night 23 July 2016, Southwark Crown Court, heard. 

The 38-year-old “lost all sense of self-control” after taking pictures of the woman as she slept in the back of his car, Judge David Tomlinson said as he passed sentence. 

After they arrived at her home, his victim approached her front door, but Durrani picked her up from behind and carried her to the car.

There, he sexually assaulted and raped her, before taking selfie images with her while at least one of her breasts was exposed.

“It comes as no surprise to learn, and it’s no exaggeration to say, you have ruined her life," Judge Tomlinson added. “The harm you did that night is incalculable.”

He had no doubt Durrani was aware his victim was “almost paralytically drunk” when he picked her up, he said. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/uber-driver-rape-passenger-selfie-muhammad-khurram-durrani-a8345951.html

Uber is allegedly silencing sexual assault allegations against its drivers — here's what to know about the case

KAREN FRATTI

March 21, 2018 8:19 am

One of the tell-tale signs that rape culture is alive and well comes when companies force accusers to settle their sexual assault allegations behind closed doors in arbitration and then sign non-disclosure agreements. But that doesn’t just happen in Hollywood or on Capitol Hill. Actually, nine women have brought a class action lawsuit against Uber for allegedly silencing their sexual assault allegations and forcing them to settle the issue in arbitration instead of an open court.

Arbitration is, according to the American Bar Association, a private way to settle disputes. A neutral party hears evidence and then decides who’s in the right. Although there are definitely times when it might be in someone’s favor to go to arbitration, it’s usually not in the best interest of employees or consumers — especially women — when they take this route, since arbiters tend to be very white, very old, and very male. What do they know about anything, right?

The thing is, all of us are actually bound to handle disputes via arbitration, whether it’s with Uber, Lyft, or other tech companies. Pretty much all of them have it written into their terms of service, which is why Uber is standing firm in settling these sexual assault cases in a closed boardroom somewhere instead of in front of a jury. Uber didn’t immediately respond to HelloGiggles’ request for comment, but a spokesperson told Gizmodo that the women in the class action lawsuit are allowed to at least speak publicly about the process.

“The allegations brought forth in this case are important to us and we take them very seriously. Arbitration is the appropriate venue for this case because it allows the plaintiffs to publicly speak out as much as they want and have control over their individual privacy at the same time,” they said. Basically, it’s a great way to keep things out of the news.

These nine women are intent on not letting that happen. They want a jury and a trial and all of our attention, which is fair. Jeanne M Christensen, one of the women’s attorneys, told The Guardian, “Our clients deserve a trial. The goal is to force Uber to acknowledge that this is happening and to do something about it.” Another attorney at Wigdor Law, the firm representing the plaintiffs, told Gizmodo that Uber’s claim about privacy was “entirely nonsensical and a clear attempt to shield its pervasive, easily-rectified wrongdoing from the public eye.” They added that the women are very in control of their privacy and “want to litigate their claims in federal court.”

Forced arbitration is something that perpetuates rape culture, plain and simple. When you settle things behind closed doors, even if there’s a clause letting the women tweet and talk about it, they’re less likely to make headlines and fewer women will know that they’re not alone if they’ve been attacked or harassed by a man. This is one of the main things the Time’s Up organizers are fighting against — settling things quietly, writing a check, signing a contract, and being done with it is essentially telling victims to shut up and be happy it’s over. It’s telling drivers that they can get away with doing what they want. That’s just not going to fly, especially when we’re hopping in vehicles with drivers that the company is supposed to vet for us so that we can be safe.

One of the plaintiffs from Miami allegedly carried an intoxicated passengerinto her home and raped her, according to the complaint. A 26-year-old woman fom San Francisco alleges that an Uber driver pushed his way into her apartment building and then groped her. A Los Angeles woman alleges that she was assaulted when she fell asleep in the backseat. Another masturbated in the drivers seat, saying, “I thought this was what you wanted, ” to the plaintiff, according to the Daily Beast.

The women’s lawsuit blames Uber for their role in the alleged assaults throughout:

“Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired. Uber has created a system for bad actors to gain access to vulnerable victims.”

Just this weekend, police arrested a Boston Uber driver for assaulting a passenger in a parked car. Simply, this happens often enough for Uber to take a stronger position when it comes to protecting female Uber passengers. If they can’t vet their drivers or train them to prevent sexual assault, the least it could do is allow plaintiffs to tell their story in a court and let a judge and jury decide. Forcing women into arbitration to protect the company image is not a good look.

Seven More Women Join Uber Sexual-Assault Lawsuit

The class-action suit now includes nine total plaintiffs who say they were raped, assaulted, harassed, or kidnapped.

OLIVIA MESSER

03.15.18 9:43 PM ET

“I thought this is what you wanted,” an Uber driver—while masturbating—allegedly told one of the seven new plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the ride-hail giant on Thursday.

The women each say they were harassed, assaulted, kidnapped or raped by their Uber driver.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, first alleged in November 2017 that—because of its lax driver screening—the company is operating a system in which perpetrators maintain access to thousands of women to kidnap, sexually assault, and harass.

The initial suit included two plaintiffs, and the amended complaint was filed on Thursday, adding seven new plaintiffs to the case.

“Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired,” the lawsuit says. “Uber has created a system for bad actors to gain access to vulnerable victims.”

Attorney Jeanne Christensen,  who represents the plaintiffs, claims that Uber filed a motion after that suit to “force these women into confidential arbitration.”

“Today, in response, we have amended the complaint to address the arbitration issue and include the claims of another seven women that have dared to participate as named plaintiffs and speak out against Uber,” Christensen said. “Uber’s goal is to stop women from getting the justice they deserve through our court system.”

The complaint claims that “Uber is frantic to deny Jane Does and thousands of female victims their right to access our judicial system, as demonstrated by Uber’s recent shameful attempt to force this action into arbitration immediately.”Christensen claims that arbitration “would prevent the public from learning about the frequency and severity of rapes and sexual assaults by Uber drivers against innocent women.”

The class action suit seeks to include plaintiffs “who were transported by Uber drivers and were subject to rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, kidnapping, or other gender-motivated violence or harassment by their Uber driver in the last four years.”

The lawsuit alleges that Uber “has engaged in and continues to engage in unlawful, fraudulent and unfair practices that are substantially likely to mislead the public.”

Plaintiffs are seeking damages to be determined at jury trial and a permanent injunction to prevent repeated alleged irresponsibility in the future.

Thousands of women have been attacked by Uber drivers since the company was first launched in 2010, according to the lawsuit, including cases of “rape, sexual assault, physical violence and gender-motivated harassment.”

“As she fought her driver, he kept saying ‘I need one minute, I need to kiss you.’”

Jane Doe 1 says she was raped one October 2016 night in Miami by her Uber driver, who noticed she was “barely conscious” while riding home from a restaurant with her friend.

The driver, who was charged with a felony in Miami before that night, allegedly threw Doe 1 over his shoulder and carried her upstairs and into her bedroom. Her friend, who was upset and afraid, hid in the bathroom while the man raped Doe 1, the lawsuit claims.

The man was later charged and allegedly admitted to police that “he was wrong for what he did.” That case is still pending, according to the lawsuit. Uber refunded Doe’s receipt from the ride but never confirmed that the man was deactivated as a driver.

Jane Doe 2, who lives in Los Angeles, was drinking at a dinner with friends when she called a car. She fell asleep in the backseat of her Uber and awoke to her driver’s mouth on her vulva, the lawsuit claims.

He drove her home and raped her while she was “in and out of consciousness,” according to the complaint.

Jane Doe 3, a 26-year-old who lives in San Francisco, requested an Uber after a holiday party in December 2017. When she got home, the driver offered to help her into her apartment. Even though she said no, he followed her inside, pushing himself into the foyer, the lawsuit claims.

He “held her in a bear hug as he groped her and attempted to force himself on her,” the complaint states. As she fled, he followed her to her apartment door, where he groped her and put his hands up her dress, according to the suit.

“Doe 3 managed to punch him in the stomach hard enough that she was able to get into her apartment,” the lawsuit states.

The man’s name, date of birth and personal address match the name, date of birth and personal address of a man who is listed as a registered sex offender in Berkeley, California, according to the lawsuit.

Jane Doe 4, a 42-year-old woman in Des Moines, Iowa was in a ride home from a bar when the driver began “asking her strange questions.”

She looked away and then realized “he had his penis out.”

Doe 4 told him to stop, but he responded: “I thought this is what you wanted,” the lawsuit claims.

He then allegedly grabbed Doe 4’s knee and tried to kiss her. Doe 4 asked him to take her back to the bar because it was a “public area rather than her home,” the lawsuit states.

“At this, Howard removed his penis from his pants again, and began masturbating, even though Ms. Doe 4 kept protesting and threatened to call the police,” the lawsuit claims.

“Doe 4 was furious at the possibility [the driver] could do this again to more unsuspecting women, so she grabbed his phone, threw it on the ground away from him, and took the broken pieces into the bar,” the document alleges.

“She gave the broken phone pieces to the bartender, who called police,” according to the lawsuit.

The case is under investigation, and the driver was allegedly deactivated from the app.

Jane Doe 5, a 33-year-old, was out drinking with a friend in October 2016 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. When she got into the Uber, which should have been a 40-minute ride, she blacked out.

More than two hours later, the driver was trying to carry her unconscious body from the backseat of the vehicle, the suit says. When the woman’s boyfriend approached the odd scene, the driver pushed Doe 5 back into the car and drove off with her, according to the complaint.

The driver allegedly dropped her off one block away from her home—in an apparent attempt to avoid the woman’s boyfriend. Doe 5’s boyfriend took her home, and “she awoke the next morning with no recollection of the previous night,” the lawsuit states.

Uber allegedly responded to her complaints by telling her she would no longer be paired with this driver anymore but still hasn’t refunded her ride. That driver is still working for Uber, according to the lawsuit.

Doe 5 filed a police report, but the lawsuit claims “Uber has refused to cooperate with the investigation.”

In December 2017, 31-year-old Jane Doe 6 was trying to get home from a holiday party about 1 a.m. in West Hollywood, California. She took an Uber, drifting in and out of consciousness during the course of the ride, at one point vomiting on the side of the road. She awoke and found the Uber driver sexually assaulting her, the lawsuit claims. The driver dropped her off one block away from her house, according to the complaint. She filed a police report one week later. The driver was arrested on December 23, 2017 and charged with digital penetration and oral copulation, according to the lawsuit.

Jane Doe 7, a 21-year-old New Yorker, ordered an Uber Pool to take her home from dinner at about 1 a.m. When the car arrived at her home in Brooklyn, she tried to get out.

The driver allegedly said, “I need one minute,” got into the backseat, groped her and forcibly tried to kiss her, according to the lawsuit. As she fought him, he kept saying, “I need one minute, I need to kiss you.”

Doe 7 eventually grabbed her purse, hit him in the face, and fled the vehicle.

He allegedly yelled at her while she fumbled for her keys to get inside. Doe 7 filed a police report. Uber has not terminated its relationship with the driver, and he still drives for the company, according to the lawsuit.

Jane Doe 8, a 19-year-old in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said her Uber driver in August 2016 began asking her personal and inappropriate questions as soon as she got into the car.

Her bicycle was in the backseat, so she sat in the front.

“I heard private school girls are wild,” he allegedly said, asking if she had a boyfriend or had ever had sex.

Then, he “began rubbing Ms. Doe 8’s leg, beginning at her knee and reaching up her thigh,” according to the suit. She moved closer to the window, but the driver kept rubbing her arms and shoulders, the complaint alleges.

“She asked the driver to stop the vehicle so that she could get out and walk back to campus,” but he refused, according to the complaint.

He allegedly asked if he could kiss her, but she said “no.”

When they arrived at campus, he allegedly said, “I have to kiss you,” and forcibly grabbed and kissed her.

The driver was convicted of sexual assault in the woman’s case, according to the lawsuit.

Jane Doe 9, who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ordered an Uber home from a bar about 2 a.m. in October 2017.

Her phone died before the car got there.

“The Uber driver began driving on the highway in the wrong direction,” according to the lawsuit, at which point Doe 9 began panicking.

But the driver allegedly told her “not to panic” and “began touching her legs, putting his hand down her shirt and feeling her breasts,” the complaint states. Though she was begging the man to take her home, he instead pulled off the highway and parked in his own apartment complex, according to the lawsuit.

When she refused to get out of the vehicle, she said the driver tried to pull her out. Doe 9 screamed, and a neighbor came out to see what was going on.

“Doe 9 shook her head to indicate that everything was not alright,” according to the complaint.

The neighbor helped her, and Doe 9, who was “hysterical and continued to feel unsafe,” called police, and the driver was arrested, the lawsuit claims. He was allegedly charged with kidnapping, indecent assault, false imprisonment, and harassment.

He allegedly told police that he wasn’t actually logged in on the app as a driver, but “that she looked intoxicated, so he picked her up,” according to the complaint.

The driver was terminated from the company after a report, according to the lawsuit.

An Uber spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the company takes the allegations “very seriously.”

“Arbitration is the appropriate venue for this case because it allows the plaintiffs to publicly speak out as much as they want and have control over their individual privacy at the same time,” it said.

Uber fired at least 20 employees last year in the aftermath of an investigation into its workplace culture after former employee Susan Fowler published a detailed account online of the sexual harassment she experienced at the company.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/seven-more-women-join-uber-sexual-assault-lawsuit

Jury convicts Uber driver of raping passenger

Marc Freeman Sun Sentinel

The jury rejected his claims of a consensual sexual romp, and Uber driver Gary Kitchings now stands convicted of raping a passenger he picked up after SunFest last year.

A weeklong trial ended Friday with a guilty verdict on five felony charges for the 58-year-old former foster care provider, who drove part-time for the ride sharing service.

Kitchings testified his front-seat passenger was flirtatious, and it turned into a consensual sex “good time” hook up at her Jupiter condo before he returned to Uber driving the same night.

Gary Kitchings, 58, testifies in a Palm Beach County courtroom on March 15, 2018, in his own defense against charges of raping a woman after giving her a Uber ride from SunFest last year.

 But his 38-year-old accuser said her ride home in Kitchings’ Nissan Versa and the attack in her home were terrifying. She told the jury that Kitchings was a “monster” who locked the car doors, threatened to shoot her unless she performed a sex act and swallow his urine while he drove, and then broke into her home and raped her.

It took nine hours of deliberations over two days, but the panel of five men and one woman decided the woman was a victim. Kitchings was acquitted of one sexual battery count, over the alleged oral sex in the car.

“I’m so very happy with the verdict,” the woman told reporters outside the courtroom, asking not to be identified. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, for an amazing jury. I wish I could thank each of them in person.” Juror 5, one of the men on the panel, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that they took their time going through the evidence because “you don’t want to make the wrong decision.” The juror, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was “a classic case” of he-said, she-said and ultimately they decided she was raped.

The woman, who lives in New York City and runs an online skin care products company, also praised prosecutors Marci Rex and Brianna Coakley as “heroes.” Rex said the verdict was a relief because it didn’t turn out to be another case where the woman is blamed for claiming rape. “It’s so rewarding to know the jurors could look at the evidence and look even at the victim’s word and not just say that it’s a he said, she said,” the prosecutor said. “It speaks volumes on a shift in the rape climate to know that they usually blame the victim and this time they didn’t do that.”

Kitchings was found guilty of three counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon or physical force, one count of burglary with assault or battery, and false imprisonment.

Kitchings then returned to Palm Beach County Jail and will face up to life in prison when he is sentenced May 18 by Chief Circuit Judge Krista Marx.

Assistant Public Defenders Stephen Arbuzow and Raquel Tortora vowed to challenge the convictions.

One of the grounds for the appeal is expected to be Judge Marx’s refusal to let the defense inform the jury that Kitchings’ accuser had made a rape claim against a different man over an encounter in a New York City hotel in 2016. The defendant in that case also says it was consensual, and a trial is likely in April.

“We’re disappointed in the way this turned out,” Arbuzow told reporters. “We believe Mr. Kitchings is an innocent man.”

 Gary Kitchings appears in this May 8, 2017 booking photo.

 (Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office)

After his arrest, Kitchings lost his jobs with Uber and a foster home facility in suburban West Palm Beach.

On the witness stand, Kitchings said he was guilty only of cheating on his wife, saying he was flattered by the attention from the younger woman he picked up May 7, 2017, following the West Palm Beach arts and music festival.

“She asked me if I cheat,” he said, denying that anything sexual happened in the car. “I wasn’t opposed to any of it.”

Kitchings said once they got to her place, the woman said it wasn’t necessary for him to grab a condom from his trunk, and he recalled, “She had this nice grin on her face.”

During his closing argument Thursday, Arbuzow said the woman was lying and putting on an act when she called 911 after Kitchings went back on the road. The jurors listened to a recording of the woman crying to the operator on the call.

Arbuzow said he was afraid the jury would convict his client “just because it sounds horrible,” suggesting the woman cried rape because she had regrets about the hook-up, or possibly she wanted to make an excuse for selling her condo. He also said police never found a gun.

But the prosecutors said the woman had no reason to make up the rape, which meant undergoing an invasive hospital exam and later testifying before strangers in court.

They also said that in the days before the attack she was with her boyfriend in Mexico, and would never be attracted to an overweight Uber driver for what the defense branded a “one night stand.”

“This was the worst night of her life,” prosecutor Rex said.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-pn-uber-driver-rape-trial-verdict-watch-20180316-story.html

UBER DRIVER GAVE INTOXICATED WOMEN A RIDE HOME AND THEN RAPED THEM, SLO POLICE SAY

BY GABBY FERREIRA

January 18, 2018 02:38 PM

San Luis Obispo police have arrested an Uber driver from Santa Maria who they say escorted intoxicated women into their homes and then raped them.

On Wednesday, San Luis Obispo police served a search warrant at the home of 39-year-old Alfonso Alarconnunez in the 2300 block of Cesar Chavez Drive in Santa Maria, officials said. Alarconnunez was identified as a suspect in two separate sexual assault cases with multiple victims in SLO: one in the early morning of Dec. 18 and the other on Jan. 14, police said in a news release on Thursday.

Police say Alarconnunez, an Uber driver, targeted intoxicated women, gave them rides home and escorted them inside, where he then sexually assaulted them. Police said they believe Alarconnunez also stole property from the victims, including jewelry, cellphones and computers.

Police detectives believe Alarconnunez searched for parties in San Luis Obispo and solicited rides as an Uber driver. He would then collect payment through Venmo, a pay service app, to disguise his identity and his Uber records, police said.

Capt. Chris Staley said police have identified two victims in the December case and one in the January case. Staley said police first connected Alarconnunez to the Jan. 14 assault, and further investigation revealed he was connected to the Dec. 18 incident as well.

When police searched Alarconnunez’s home, police found several items of property belonging to the victims.

Alarconnunez was arrested on suspicion of eight charges, including two counts of rape of an unconscious victim and one count of rape of a drugged victim, as well as additional charges of grand theft, burglary and oral copulation with an unconscious victim.

He was taken to San Luis Obispo County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail, according to jail records.

“There’s a lot of things outstanding that we’re still trying to piece together,” Staley said. “There may be additional charges we’re trying to request through the District Attorney’s Office.”

Since the arrest was made public at about 2 p.m. Thursday, Staley said the department has been contacted by a few people who’ve interacted with Alarconnunez, though he could not say whether those interactions took place around the same time as the assaults or at another time.

Police ask everyone with information regarding Alarconnunez, or anyone who believes they were a victim of assault or theft, to notify their local law enforcement agency.

Police urge everyone to confirm the identity of the driver and vehicle they request through the Uber or Lyft apps before getting into a vehicle. Payment should also be made through Uber or Lyft and not another payment service.

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article195437314.html

Uber driver sexually assaulted 3 students from Cal Poly, 1 from Cuesta, DA says

 

 

 

 

Uber driver charged with raping 16-year-old passenger

By Avi Selk December 15, 2017 

Police were called to an apartment complex outside Atlanta in the dark hours of Monday morning to find an extremely intoxicated 16-year-old girl with her pants around her ankles, they said.

She told Gwinnett County police officers that her Uber driver had just raped her. Now that driver is in jail, and police say the girl may not have been his only victim.

The teen had been out drinking at a bar, police said in a statement, and a friend ordered her an Uber to get home.

Abdoulie Jagne — a 58-year-old who had been driving for the service for two months and had no prior complaints, according to the company — pulled up to the bar.

According to Fox 5 Atlanta, Uber later provided information to police suggesting the ride took longer than it should have. Detectives now suspect that Jagne raped the girl on a street lined with houses and strip malls in an unincorporated section of the suburbs, a few miles northwest of Atlanta.

[An eavesdropping Uber driver saved his 16-year-old passenger from her pimps, police say]

He then dropped her off at a complex along the same road, where she started banging on doors and saying her driver had assaulted her.

Officers called to the complex took the girl to a hospital and got in touch with Uber. On Thursday, they arrested Jagne on a charge of rape.

The driver was calm at the point of handcuffs, sheriff’s deputies told the Fox affiliate. He remained in jail Friday, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Police have not provided any more details about the case but suspect Jagne may have assaulted others, and they have asked anyone who may have been a victim to contact them.

An Uber spokeswoman told The Washington Post that the driver has been permanently banned and that the company is cooperating with police.

“What’s reported here is horrifying beyond words,” Uber said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the rider and her family during this time.”

The arrest is the latest in a string of violent incidents allegedly involving Uber drivers, including a 2014 rape case that got the service banned from New Delhi, a fatal accident involving a 6-year-old in San Francisco and a mass shooting last year in Kalamazoo, Mich.

As The Post has reported, Uber is facing a class-action lawsuit that claims flaws in its screening process have endangered thousands of people.

Drivers are required to clear a criminal background screening, but Uber has strongly resisted calls to strengthen that system with fingerprint checks — going as far as to shut down its operations in areas that demand it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/12/15/uber-driver-charged-with-raping-16-year-old-passenger/?utm_term=.b9a30adc9130

Uber driver accused of raping passenger in police custody

UPDATED: SEP 08 2017 10:22AM EDT

DETROIT (WJBK) - An Uber driver accused of raping a 21-year-old woman Thursday night has turned himself in to Detroit Police.

Investigators say 29-year-old Forid Ahmed, who was driving a gray 2013 Toyota Camry, picked up the 21-year- old woman up in the area of 5000 Cass.

The victim told police he drove her to an unknown location where he assaulted her.

The woman was able to escape his car in the area of 31st and Devereaux.

Detroit Police tell us Ahmed turned himself in Thursday night after seeing his picture in television news broadcast reports. Police say he was accompanied by his attorney. 

http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/uber-driver-accused-of-raping-passenger-in-police-custody

Uber driver allegedly rapes unconscious Manhattan woman in his home after she falls asleep in his car

 

BYGRAHAM RAYMAN

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Friday, August 18, 2017, 4:00 PM

An East Village woman suffered a terrifying ordeal Thursday when she passed out in an Uber car and the driver took her to his apartment and raped her, police sources said.

The 31-year-old victim called for an Uber at E. 52nd St. and 2nd Ave. about 2 a.m. She told the 47-year-old driver to take her home and then fell asleep in the car, sources said.

The twisted cabbie took her to his Flushing apartment and raped her while she was still unconscious, sources said. She woke up, realized with shock that she wasn’t home and confronted the driver.

“I used protection — please don't call police,” he said according to police sources.

She fled his home and reported what happened to police she found nearby on 41st Road and College Point Blvd.

She told police she had a few drinks before hailing the ride and gave no consent for sex, sources said. Medics took her to Bellevue Hospital for examination.

Cops have identified the driver and are trying to locate him, sources said.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/uber-driver-rapes-manhattan-woman-falls-asleep-car-article-1.3423665

How safe is your Uber? Growing concern as police figures suggest company's drivers are linked to one sex attack in London per week

 

  • Police figures show sex attacks involving Uber drivers up 50 per cent in a year
  • From February 2015 and February 2016, there were 32 claims made against firm's drivers in London
  • In the past 12 months to February 2017, that figure shot up to 48 alleged attacks
  • But Uber said such incidents are 'incredibly rare' and result in driver bannings  

By TOM RAWSTORNE FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 17:51 EDT, 28 July 2017 | UPDATED: 18:04 EDT, 28 July 2017

After a meal with her boyfriend and drinks at a leaving party, the 26-year-old office worker called it a night. It was only 10.30pm, but she had to be in work early the next day so, using her smartphone, she summoned a cab via the Uber app. It was a decision she would live to regret.

Her driver, an Eritrean refugee who had been working for Uber for only three weeks, quickly made her feel uneasy.

‘You are very pretty,’ said Samson Haile, 32. He then asked if she had a boyfriend, before announcing: ‘I want to have sex with you.’

Next, he grabbed her leg, moving his hand up her thigh. Terrified, the woman screamed and jumped out of the Toyota Prius, fleeing into the London night.

Hours later, Haile was at it again, telling a female passenger: ‘I want to sleep in your bed.’ As luck would have it, she was an undercover policewoman and Haile would subsequently be arrested and linked to the first attack.

Some might dismiss it as a relatively minor incident, but its impact would be immense.

‘I have suffered from repeated flashbacks relating to the incident,’ the victim revealed in a statement read out in court in 2015, when Haile was jailed for eight months.

‘I feel helpless, isolated and vulnerable, and the incident has made me lonely. I now don’t like being in a vehicle with a man I don’t know. I had to move since the cab journey because I was so worried the man knew where I lived. I am haunted by the “what if?” scenarios.’

Earlier this month, a different court was hearing another case involving an Uber driver. This time, Jahir Hussain was jailed for 12 years for attacks on three separate women in London. He groped two and raped the third, cutting off their underwear with a knife after they fell asleep in the back of his cab.

A spokesman said Uber’s thoughts were with the victims, but added: ‘While these attacks did not take place on a trip booked through our app, we were still able to support the police in bringing this man to justice.’

Little wonder there are growing concerns that Uber’s aggressive expansion could be jeopardising passenger safety. MPs and unions are warning that new drivers are exploiting legislative loopholes to sidestep measures intended to safeguard the public, such as installing CCTV cameras in the back of cabs.

Questions have also been raised about whether pressure on Uber drivers to maximise their earnings is leading to them lending their vehicles to other drivers — so passengers have no idea who may be driving them home late at night.

Some will see such criticisms as sour grapes, whipped up by those who lost out after the Californian company launched its services in London in 2012.

The firm runs a smartphone app that allows users to hail a minicab at the tap of a screen using location software in the passenger and driver’s phones.



To finish reading article:

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4741030/Figures-Uber-drivers-linked-one-sex-attack-week.html#ixzz4p5IisEub 
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Uber driver accused of raping a schoolgirl, 16, while telling her 'it's alright baby girl' granted bail

 

  • Uber driver was charged this month with raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl
  • Girl was returning to a friend's home when she was allegedly picked up
  • Man allegedly took her to a dark allotment to rape and sexually assault her
  • Seminal fluid was detected on the victim's underwear, the court heard

By Australian Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 07:56 EDT, 25 July 2017 | UPDATED: 08:01 EDT, 25 July 2017

An Uber driver accused of raping a Queensland high school student has been granted bail despite evidence placing him at the scene of the crime.
The 37-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been in custody since he was charged earlier this month with raping a 16-year-old passenger.
The girl was returning to a friend's home after buying a tub of ice cream when she was allegedly picked up by the man about 9pm on July 7.

Two friends had offered to go with the girl on the return trip to the supermarket but she told them: 'It's alright, I'll be 10 minutes max'.

Police allege the man drove in the direction of the girl's destination before terminating the trip and taking her to a 'dark, spare allotment'.

'I have just broken up with my girlfriend today and I am feeling horny,' he allegedly said.

'But I think you can fix my problem'.

The man then allegedly indecently touched, raped and sexually assaulted the girl as she cried and repeatedly told him no.

'It's alright baby girl. Spread your legs,' he allegedly said.

The girl, who was returned to her friend's home, later revealed to a friend and her mother that she had been raped.

The driver 'strongly denies' the allegations against him and has been described by character references as a kind-hearted family man who respects women.

Court documents filed in the Brisbane Supreme Court show data taken from his phone place him on the exact route the victim alleged the assault occurred.

Seminal fluid has also been detected on the victim's underwear but not in the man's vehicle, which police noted had been 'recently cleaned'.

The man, who had been working up to five days a week as an Uber driver since January, is not allowed to work for the company or as a taxi driver as part of his bail conditions.

He has also been placed on a curfew, surrendered his passport and must report to police three times a week.

The case will return to the Brisbane Magistrates Court on August 7.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4728362/Uber-driver-accused-raping-schoolgirl-16-gets-bail.html#ixzz4p64p9haW 
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Second Brisbane Uber driver charged with rape

JULY 14, 2017 10:02AM

QUEENSLAND police are urging women who have been sexually assaulted while using ride-sharing app Uber after a second Brisbane driver was charged with rape.

A 37-year-old man will face Brisbane Magistrate’s Court on Friday charged with the rape of a 16-year-old girl in the city’s south on July 8.

The teenager reported the incident to police the following morning, saying the driver raped her in his car.

It comes only days after a 47-year-old driver was charged with raping a young passenger three times.

Police have said the two matters are unrelated, but they do believe more incidents have occurred.

After the first incident, detectives warned they had suspicions the driver could be a serial rapist.

“Some of the information we’ve obtained during the investigation seems to lend itself in the police’s view ... that perhaps there may have been other incidents,” Acting Detective Superintendent Mick O’Dowd told reporters.

“We don’t have exact details of those incidents, which is why we’re asking our public appeal again for people to come forward if they’ve been in a situation that’s similar.”

Det Supt O’Dowd said Uber had been fully co-operative with police and dismissed any suggestion drivers had been forging identity details to successfully register as a driver with the service.

Detectives have previously said they believe that a man may have abused other women collected late at night from central Brisbane in the last two years.

Police today have made a separate appeal for victims who have been in similar situations to report the incident.

Uber has previously said its drivers undergo a criminal history check before being cleared to work for the company. Police have said Uber has been cooperative in their investigations.

Despite the incidents and belief more passengers have been assaulted, Det Supt O’Dowd said police have no concerns about the safety of Uber or other ride-sharing services.

“I don’t think from the actions of two persons you could draw a conclusion it makes Uber any less safe,” he said.

“There’s thousands of transports every day where people are collected and dropped at their destination without any problem at all.”

Mr O’Dowd said improving safety measures of forcing all Uber vehicles to have cameras installed was a matter for the company and not police.

http://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/crime/second-brisbane-uber-driver-charged-with-rape/news-story/b48b5b553204d555bf83b90e6d0981e8

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

Uber driver arrested in sexual battery of passenger in Moraga

 

By Michael Bodley, San Francisco Chronicle

 Updated 5:41 pm, Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A passenger who took an Uber from Oakland to Moraga was sexually battered by her driver near the end of the ride, police said Tuesday.

San Francisco resident Leonid Beker, 42, was arrested in San Francisco on Thursday, according to the Moraga Police Department. He was booked into the Contra Costa County jail in Martinez on suspicion of felony sexual battery before being released on bail later that day, said Moraga Police Chief Jon King.

“It’s an absolutely terrible thing to have a lady who is just trying to get a ride to her destination, and she’s victimized like this,” King said. “It’s absolutely 

King said investigators are looking into whether Beker victimized other woman.

A spokesman for Uber said “what the rider reported is deeply troubling,” adding that Beker had been removed from the service.

Beker is accused of stopping the car soon after he and the victim reached Moraga, police said. He climbed into the backseat, where he assaulted the woman, police said.

Police were working with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office on filing charges against Beker, King said.

http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Uber-driver-arrested-in-sexual-battery-of-11200757.php?utm_content=bufferdc7e6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

14-year-old girl raped by Uber driver in Osceola County, deputies say

WESHPublished: May 12, 2017, 12:20 pm

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (WESH)—A 14-year-old girl was sexually battered by an Uber driver in Osceola County, deputies said.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said the girl requested an Uber driver to pick her up Wednesday in Kissimmee. The driver, David Pena-Melo, of Kissimmee, picked up the girl and asked her to sit in the front seat, deputies said.

The girl told deputies that Pena-Melo began to make sexual advances during the ride and then drove past the requested destination.

Pena-Melo pulled over on the side of a road near a wooded area and forced the girl to perform a sex act, deputies said.

Detectives said they met with Pena-Melo on Thursday and arrested him on a charge of sexual battery on a person older than 12, but younger than 18.

http://wfla.com/2017/05/12/14-year-old-girl-raped-by-uber-driver-in-osceola-county-deputies-say/

Florida Uber driver arrested for kidnapping, rape

POSTED:MAY 09 2017 12:24PM CDT

JUPITER, Fla. - Police in Jupiter have arrested an Uber driver who is accused of kidnapping a passenger and sexually assaulting her.

Police say the woman was picked up by Gary Kitchings, 55, just after 12:30 a.m. May 7th from Sun Fest in downtown West Palm Beach.

On the drive to her home, the police report says he began to flirt with the woman, then when she tried to jump out of the car, he threatened her by saying he had a gun and that if she didn't do what he wanted, he would kill her.

He sexually assaulted her in the car, police say, and after she got home and tried to run inside, he grabbed her and pushed her inside her house, the police report says, where he sexually assaulted her again.

The victim told police she thought she saw a gun under his shirt but he never displayed one.

He eventually left, saying he would come back and kill her if she told anyone, so she locked her bedroom door, hid in the closet, and called 911, the police report says.

Police say the victim had the suspect's license plate number and he was arrested and charged with kidnapping, sexual battery with a deadly weapon, and burglary.

Police say Kitchings lived and worked at the Kid Sanctuary Campus, a non-profit home for neglected and abused children.

The facility told WPBF he has been placed on leave pending the outcome of criminal proceedings, and Uber said the driver has been removed from the app. 

http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/253537376-story

Uber driver charged with raping female passenger- California

 

By Reuters

April 26, 2017 | 9:39pm

An Uber driver accused by prosecutors of having sexually assaulted a female passenger after she sought a ride home from a gathering in the upscale seaside city of Newport Beach, California, was charged with rape on Wednesday.

Angel Sanchez, 36, was arrested a day after the March 30 attack, which took place on a street near the woman’s home in Santa Ana, California. The victim in the case was not identified by authorities.

Sanchez, who is scheduled for an initial court appearance in the case next week, faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison if convicted.

Representatives for Uber could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say the woman had been attending a company gathering in Newport Beach and her colleagues requested an Uber ride to take her home. They added Sanchez drove the victim to Santa Ana before sexually assaulting her.

Following the attack, the woman ran from Sanchez’ minivan and immediately called 911, prosecutors said.

http://nypost.com/2017/04/26/uber-driver-charged-with-raping-female-passenger/

Prosecutor: Boston Uber Driver Used Fake Name, Raped Passenger

 

April 26, 2017 Updated 2017-04-26 10:47:05

A Boston man who drove for ride-hailing company Uber has been charged with raping a female passenger.

Prosecutors say 34-year-old Luis Baez used the fake name "Valentin" when he picked up a woman in Boston last September, drove her to a location other than where she requested and assaulted her. Uber confirmed Baez drove under an account with a false name.

Authorities say Baez then drove the woman to Boston College and dropped her off. She reported the alleged assault to campus police. Prosecutors did not say whether she was a student there.

Police tracked the suspect from information stored in the woman's Uber app. Baez was known to police, according to a release from the Middlesex County district attorney's office.

The suspect was released on $2,500 bail after pleading not guilty to three counts of rape on Tuesday. He was also ordered to stay away from Boston College's campus, the release said.

Uber called the charges "a horrible crime" and said it is cooperating with investigators. The company also said the suspect's Uber account was suspended indefinitely since Sept. 29 when prosecutors say the alleged assault occurred. Baez drove for the ride-hailing service for less than a month prior to that date, according to Uber.

Earlier this month, results for the first round of state background checks for ride-hailing drivers under a law passed in 2016 were released. Of 70,789 drivers who applied through one or more companies, the state denied 8,206 applications.

http://www.wbur.org/news/2017/04/26/uber-rape-luis-baez

ORANGE COUNTY UBER DRIVER ARRESTED FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT OF PASSENGER

By Leanne Suter and ABC7.com staff

Sunday, April 02, 2017 04:39PM

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --

A 37-year-old Uber driver was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a female passenger in Orange County, and Santa Ana police believe there may be more victims who have not come forward.

Angel Sanchez was arrested Saturday at his Costa Mesa home on suspicion of sexual assault, which police said took place Thursday night near the victim's home in Santa Ana.

The woman, whose name was not released, requested the Uber ride to her house and was picked up by Sanchez in a gray 2016 Toyota Sienna. Santa Ana police said the assault took place inside the van near the victim's destination after the driver pulled over to a side street.

"She had fallen asleep and woke up being sexually assaulted," said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna with Santa Ana police. "She was able to fight and break free and immediately called us."

Sanchez, who has been an Uber driver for over one year, was booked into the Santa Ana PD Jail on sexual assault charges and was being held on $100,000 bail.

Uber released a statement to Eyewitness News saying Sanchez has been banned from the ride-share service.

"What the rider has reported to police is deeply troubling and will not be tolerated. The driver has been banned from the app. We will continue to support police with their investigation," the statement read.

http://abc7.com/news/oc-uber-driver-arrested-for-sexual-assault-of-passenger/1830910/

Uber driver charged with raping passenger in Virginia Beach

 

  • By Jane Harper
    The Virginian-Pilot
  • Mar 7, 2017

    VIRGINIA BEACH

    An Uber driver appeared in court on Tuesday after he was charged with raping a female passenger in one of the city’s Oceanfront neighborhoods over the weekend.

    Sewanou Bisile Yoro, 34, of Norfolk, was arrested Monday on charges of abduction, rape and aggravated sexual assault. He is being held without bond in the city jail.

    Police said the victim was picked up Saturday night and assaulted sometime between 9:34 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. in the Bay Colony area on Linkhorn Bay near the Oceanfront.

    A bail determination checklist in Yoro’s court file said he’s been driving part time for Uber for two to three years, earning about $350 a week.

    It also indicated that he had no prior criminal history, and that a gun was not used during the alleged assault. Yoro told a magistrate he has lived in the area since 2010 and that he owns his home in the 200 block of W. 32nd St. in Norfolk as well as a 2009 Mitsubishi.

    The arrest warrant stated that the victim was an adult, but provided no other information.

    During a brief arraignment Tuesday, Yoro told General District Judge Gene Woolard that he lives alone in Norfolk. The judge appointed him a public defender and set a preliminary hearing for May 4.

    Uber spokeswoman Jodi Page said the company would work with police to provide any information they might need for the investigation.

    "The driver has been banned from Uber," Page wrote in an email late Tuesday. "The type of conduct that has been described has no place on the app or anywhere."

    Uber has struggled in the past with some high-profile sexual assault cases involving its drivers.

    The Washington Post reported in November that the company had to settle a lawsuit brought by two women who said Uber was responsible for sexual assaults by drivers who contracted with the company.

    The company was the target of a 2015 lawsuit when a Virginia Beach driver harassed and assaulted a 13-year-old girl. The driver, Isagani A. Marin, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge the same year and received a six-month suspended sentence, The Virginian-Pilot reported at the time.

  • http://pilotonline.com/news/local/crime/uber-driver-charged-with-raping-passenger-in-virginia-beach/article_1e5017ff-ce21-5ea6-b725-c38bd3c1c2bf.html

Skokie Police: Man impersonating Uber driver raped 2 women

POSTED:MAR 21 2017 05:06PM CDT

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A man impersonating an Uber driver drove two women to north suburban Skokie and sexually assaulted them in the last month, according to police.

Musaab S. Afandi, 33, was charged with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated kidnapping, all felonies, according to Skokie police. At 4:38 a.m. on Feb. 12 and again at 3:33 a.m. on March 19, Skokie police responded to 911 calls from females reporting they had been sexually assaulted by a man impersonating a ride-share service driver, police said

Both victims told police they were picked up outside different Chicago bars or nightclubs after ordering an Uber, police said. After picking up the victims, the man drove them to Skokie, where he sexually assaulted them in his vehicle.

The females provided information that led to Afandi’s arrest, police said.

Afandi, of Glenview, was ordered held without bond at the Cook County Jail on Tuesday, police said. He is next scheduled to appear in court April 11.

The Skokie Police Department reminds ride-share service customers to verify the identity of the driver and their car before you get inside, wait inside for your ride to arrive, keep in touch with friends and family and share trip details with them, take note of the driver’s rating on the app and always ride in the back passenger side seat when riding alone.

Anyone with information about these or similar crimes is asked to call Skokie police at (847) 982-5900.

http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/crime/243024206-story