An Uber driver has been accused of kidnapping and raping a female customer who used the ride-sharing app in Cambridge, Massachusetts, authorities told the Associated Press.
The driver, 46-year-old Alejandro Done of Boston, was arraigned in Cambridge District Court on Wednesday.
A statement from Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said that Done had pleaded not guilty to charges of rape, assault to rape, kidnapping, and two counts of assault and battery. He has been held without bail, the Boston Globe said.
Done reportedly picked up the woman in Boston on Dec. 6, after she had summoned an Uber driver to take her to her home in Cambridge, investigators said.
Although payment for rides is taken via the Uber smartphone app, Done allegedly informed the woman he would need to be paid in cash, so drove her to an ATM. He then allegedly drove her to a secluded area, where the alleged attack took place, authorities said.
According to Ryan's office, Done stopped the vehicle, jumped in the back seat and struck the woman. Prosecutors said he then strangled her, before allegedly locking the car doors to prevent her from escaping, and covering her mouth so she could not scream, the Boston Globe reported.
Prosecutors allege that Done sexually assaulted the woman during the struggle. The woman reported it to police, who were able to identify Done as the driver through Uber's records. His identity was then confirmed by the woman, the Boston Globe said.
Uber said it was working alongside law enforcement to assist the investigation, AP said.
Speaking to the Boston Globe, Uber spokeswoman Kaitlin Durkosh described the incident as a "despicable crime." Another Uber spokesperson confirmed Done worked for the company, and had passed a background check.
The Globe reported that this is fourth time a customer has reported assault or inappropriate touching by a ride-share driver in the area in the space of a month. Three women reported indecent assaults within hours of summoning a ride-share service in Boston early on Sunday morning. Boston police said at least two of those victims had used Uber.
Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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