Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
A driver for Uber has been arrested by police in Florida and charged with the attempted sexual battery of a helpless female passenger who had hailed him for a ride in March of 2019, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, according to a report from the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The Sun Sentinel reports Emilio Lazaro Victores, 45, was arrested in April of 2019. The victim claimed she hailed Uber Pool – where users share cars with other users – and moved to the front seat when other riders entered the car. The victim fell asleep and Victores allegedly was on top of her when she woke.
The Sun Sentinel reports that an Uber spokesperson made the following statement about the incident: “What’s been described is deeply upsetting and our thoughts are with the rider during this difficult time. The driver’s access to the app was removed as soon as it was reported to us.”
The Sun Sentinel also reports that Victores was released from prison in 2016 after serving 15 years for breaking into a home and stabbing a man. Under current Florida law, transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber cannot hire anyone convicted of violent criminal offenses in the past five years.
“But because Victores’ previous crime happened in 2001, he was eligible to work for the company. And because Uber’s background checks cover only a seven-year period, the company may not have even known about the previous conviction,” The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
In April of 2018, a CNN investigation found 103 drivers working for Uber in the United States “have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years” and as many as “31 drivers have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape.”
That same month, Uber said it would strengthen background checks. In a blog entitled ‘Getting serious about safety,’ Uber Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dara Khosrowshahi said Uber would start conducting annual background checks on drivers. Uber began continuous driver screening in July of 2018.
Founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Uber offers peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride service hailing, food delivery, and a bicycle-sharing system. The company has operations in 785 metropolitan areas and an estimated 100 million users worldwide. To learn more, visit www.uber.com.
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