A Philadelphia woman told Philadelphia police she was raped by an UberX driver on February 6, who then drove her around for nearly two hours, refusing to let her out of the car. When Philadelphia reached out to Uber for comment, the company was unaware the rape had occurred. That was 40 days ago, and the driver's ability to work for Uber has only just been suspended.
The 33-year-old woman told Philadelphia According to a police report obtained by Philadelphia, the driver held her down, ripped her pants and raped her, then held her captive. None of that had made it to Uber's attention before Philly reporter Victor Fiorillo told them:
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.
An Uber spokesperson told Fiorillo that upon learning of the allegations the company "immediately reached out to the Philadelphia Police Department to assist in their investigation and support their efforts in any way we can." Which certainly makes it sound as though the Philadelphia Police Department didn't bother contacting Uber in the past 40 days to let them know about the rape allegation against their driver.
Uber, as you might recall, recently unveiled a series of much-touted new safety standards. But apparently making sure their drivers haven't been charged with a sex crime while working for them is not one of them.
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Update, 3:36 p.m.:
Here's a statement from Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennett:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim. The driver in question has been deactivated from the Uber platform, and we will assist the authorities in any way we can."
Here is what we know at this time:
- The trip in question occurred on February 6th and concluded with the driver dropping off the rider at the address where the Philadelphia Police Department 5th District station is located.
- The driver has been interviewed by the PPD and was not arrested and continues to cooperate in their investigation.
- The driver was affiliated with Uber Philadelphia as an uberX partner.
- Upon learning of the incident, we immediately contacted PPD 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.
The Uber app, showing an image of downtown Manhattan. Photo via AP