An Uber driver in Boston has been charged with rape, according to Bloomberg.
He allegedly picked up a female passenger on the evening of December 6, asked her to get cash out of an ATM, and took her to a secluded area where he beat and raped her. Police Commissioner Robert Haas and Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan have identified the suspect as Alejandro Done, 46, through Uber records. The statement given by the police says that Uber cooperated and aided police in the investigation of this incident.
Bloomberg reports that it is unclear whether or not Done used Uber to specifically target the victim, though it is confirmed that Done is an Uber contractor.
We’ve also confirmed that Done passed the background check on the local, state and federal level that Uber requires of its drivers.
Update: Uber has given a statement to TechCrunch.
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.
To make matters worse, this is not the only recent rape allegation made against an Uber driver in Boston this month. The Boston Globe reports that at least two of three women who were assaulted Sunday night in Boston believe their attacker was an Uber driver.
It’s been an optically brutal month for Uber, save for a $1.2 billion raise valuing the company at $40 billion.
Other than that, Uber faced another case of rape in New Delhi, India, where the service was banned. Then, a number of markets brought down the hammer for various issues with ride-sharing, holding up the service in the Netherlands, Portland, France, and Brussels. Even in the company’s home city of San Francisco, Uber was hit with a civil suit for making “misleading statements” and other unlawful activity.
And this is just the recent news. There was also the UberX driver who hit his passenger over the head with a hammer, and the Uber driver who struck and killed a young girl in San Francisco. The company denied responsibility, but the driver was charged this month.
Yesterday, however, Uber promised that it would be using more advanced technology and stringent processes to evaluate and hire their contractor drivers.
However, Uber’s Terms of Service remain the same, stating that the company takes no responsibility over the behavior or actions of the driver during the ride. Choosing a safe, sane driver is up to you, the passenger. This is because Uber is a logistics provider, a matcher of passenger and driver, and not a transportation company.
Here’s the full statement from authorities:
CAMBRIDGE – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas announced that a Boston man, who works as a driver for Uber, has been arraigned on several charges in connection with a sexual assault. Cambridge Police continue to investigate this matter. It is not known at this time if the defendant used information he gained through his position as an Uber driver to target this alleged victim. Uber has been cooperative and has provided assistance with this ongoing investigation.
Alejandro Done, 46, of Boston, was arraigned on charges of rape, assault to rape, kidnapping, and assault and battery (two counts).
Cambridge District Court Judge Roanne Sragow ordered the defendant held pending a Dangerousness Hearing, pursuant to MGL c. 276 s. 58A, scheduled for Wednesday, December 24 at 9:00am.
“We allege that this defendant picked up a young woman, presenting himself as the driver for a ride-sharing service, and then drove her to a secluded location where he beat and sexually assaulted her,” said District Attorney Ryan. “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.”
“Every day people are engaging car services for their transportation needs, and placing their trust in them for their personal safety and security,” District Attorney Ryan said. “While these services are a convenience, and often a necessity of modern urban living, we urge everyone to take precautions to ensure they are as safe as possible. Confirm that the car you are getting into is the particular one you have ordered. Be cautious if the driver is asking you to do something that you understand to be against company policy, as when they request you pay by cash when you understand that the company receives payment by credit card. There are some simple steps that you can take to reduce your exposure to harm from people intent on using these worthwhile services to take advantage of victims.”
“I’m very proud of our detectives, particularly with how diligently they investigated and were able to collaborate with multiple agencies on such a complex case,” said Superintendent Christopher Burke of the Cambridge Police Department. “As a result, the individual allegedly responsible for this serious offense has been apprehended.”
Authorities allege that on December 6, at approximately 7:30pm, the defendant pulled up to a residence on Tremont Street in Boston, where a young woman was waiting for a pre-arranged ride-sharing driver. The woman had been out with friends and decided to use a car service to get home. Once she got inside the car, she told the driver her destination and he instructed her that he would need cash payment. The defendant stopped while the woman went to an ATM to get cash and then returned to the car.
The defendant then drove to a location that the passenger was not familiar with, pulled over in a secluded area and jumped in the backseat where she was sitting. He allegedly struck her with his hands, strangled her, locked the car doors so that she could not escape and covered her mouth so she could not scream. During an ensuing physical struggle, the defendant allegedly sexually assaulted the woman.
Cambridge Police began an immediate investigation into this matter and during the investigation allegedly identified the defendant as the driver of the car through the ride-sharing service company records. The woman subsequently allegedly identified the defendant as the person who assaulted her.
These charges are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The prosecutor assigned to this case is Assistant District Attorney Kate Kleimola. The Victim Witness Advocate is Helena Clarke.