A woman has alleged that an UberX driver raped her after picking her up in Old City on February 6th, according to a report she filed with the Philadelphia Police Department. The 33-year-old told police the UberX driver held her arms down, ripped her pants, and raped her.
After the attack, he drove her around for more than two hours before letting her out of the car, according to her report, which she filed the same day as the assault.
The Philadelphia Police Department confirms that the investigation is still open, and that the case is being handled by the Special Victims Unit. Although the incident was reported to police more than 40 days ago, an Uber spokesperson tells us the company was unaware of the rape claim until we told them about it today. Neither Lieutenant Anthony McFadden nor Captain John Darby from Special Victims Unit was available for comment.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our rider,” says Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennett, who confirms that the person in question was an UberX driver. “Upon learning of the incident, we immediately reached out to the Philadelphia Police Department to assist in their investigation and support their efforts in any way we can. As the investigation continues, the driver’s access to the Uber platform has been suspended.”
Uber has often faced criticism that its services are unsafe due to supposedly lax background checks on its drivers. But Uber says all of its drivers must submit to a background check similar to the one used by the Philadelphia Parking Authority for cabdrivers. The company says its check goes back seven years — it’s against the law to go back further — and includes criminal and sex offender checks.
But there are horror stories out there from women who say that they went from passengers to victims at the hands of their Uber drivers. Since December 2014, at least three Uber drivers — two in Illinois and one in Massachusetts — have been charged with sexual assault.
Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.