A Boston Uber driver has been charged with sexual assault, battery, and the kidnapping of a young woman he picked up earlier this month — the latest in a series of disturbing stories about the car service.
On the night of December 6, Alejandro Done accepted a woman’s car request via the Uber app. He is accused of telling her that he could only take cash, driving her to an ATM, and then taking the woman to a secluded location where he locked the car doors and assaulted her in the backseat. The victim reported the incident, and Cambridge police arrested Done, who has been charged with rape, assault to rape, kidnapping, and two counts of assault and battery, according to a statement from District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office. Done is currently held without bail, and entered a not guilty plea.
"This is a despicable crime and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim during her recovery," Kaitlin Durkosh, an Uber spokesperson said. "Uber has been working closely with law enforcement and will continue to do everything we can to assist their investigation." The DA's office did not return requests for comment.
This isn’t the first incident in Boston as of late: There have been a smattering of rideshare and car service-related assaults lately, ranging from women who have mistakenly stepped into the wrong vehicle to riders who have fallen asleep and found themselves being touched inappropriately. Not that the issue is only stateside, either: Last month, an Indian woman was allegedly raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi. Both the Boston driver, Done, and the driver in New Delhi had passed Uber's background check.
These stories would be horrific enough in a vacuum, but they join a spate of dispiriting reports about the company. In late November, an Uber exec told a dinner table full of people that he wanted to spend "a million dollars" to expose dirt on journalists who'd written negative stories about the service. He singled out one young woman he thought especially worth targeting, which points to the second Uber scandal: The company has the name, address, and travel history of each of its riders. With that data, it could piece together where you're going and when, whether it's to Planned Parenthood or to visit an old lover late at night — and it may not be protecting that data very well.