A Boston-based Uber driver was arrested Wednesday for allegedly raping and kidnapping a passenger earlier this month, the Boston Globe reports.
The driver, Alejandro Done, allegedly picked up the young woman on Dec. 6, according to a statement from the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office. She had been out with friends and ordered a car through Uber’s app to get home.
After she got into the vehicle, Done allegedly told her she would need to pay with cash. Done drove her to an ATM, and once she returned to his car, Done allegedly drove her to a secluded area, according to the statement.
There was no need for Done to drive the woman to an ATM in the first place. With Uber, customers only pay for their trips through the app using their credit or debit cards, Uber credits, or Apple Pay.
Done then allegedly got into the backseat of the car with the woman, beat and strangled her, locked the doors of the car so she couldn’t get out, covered her mouth so she couldn’t scream, and allegedly sexually assaulted her, according to the District Attorney’s statement.
“This alleged predator took advantage of a young woman who trusted that he was who he portrayed himself to be and exploited her vulnerability once he had her in his car,” said Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan.
The woman reported the alleged battery and assault to Cambridge police. Done has pleaded not guilty to charges including rape, assault to rape, kidnapping, and two counts of assault and battery, according to the District Attorney’s statement.
Police began an immediate investigation into the alleged rape and kidnapping, and identified the driver through Uber’s records.
“This is a despicable crime and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim during her recovery. Uber has been working closely with law enforcement and will continue to do everything we can to assist their investigation,” Uber spokesperson Kaitlin Durkosh said in a statement to Business Insider.
The Boston Globe reports this incident is not isolated: it’s the fourth report of assault or inappropriate touching by a driver for a car-service company in Boston this month. “Early Sunday, three women reported indecent assaults within hours in Boston after summoning a ride-share service. At least two of the victims had used Uber,” the Globe reports.
In light of allegations that an Uber driver raped a female passenger in India last week, Uber has worked to up its safety measures. A blog post on its website yesterday outlines new steps Uber is considering taking to increase the safety of its operations globally. In addition to researching biometrics and voice verification as ways to improve driver screenings, Phillip Cardenas, Uber’s head of global safety, announced that Tim Collins, who previously led Amazon’s European operations, is now joining Uber to head up the company’s global support team.
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