Metro

Boston Police probing alleged ride-share assaults

Boston police are investigating three reported indecent assaults involving ride-share services that occurred early Sunday morning within a two-hour time frame.

Police said in a statement late Monday night that the incidents occurred between roughly 1 and 3 a.m. in Dorchester, the Allston-Brighton area, and an unspecified location between Faneuil Hall and Dorchester.

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Police did not identify the ride-share services that were involved, though Uber says it has “no evidence to suggest any Uber partner was involved.”

In the first case, a woman told police shortly before 1 a.m. that she had been “indecently assaulted by an individual she believed to be employed by a ride-share service,” the statement said, adding that she had arranged for pickup near Dorchester Avenue and Columbia Road.

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“Once inside the vehicle, the victim states that the operator offered her money and touched her inappropriately,” police said. “While still in the car, the victim states that she received a text from her actual authorized [ride-share] operator stating that he had arrived to pick her up. At this point, the victim ordered the operator to stop the car so that she could exit the vehicle and call police.”

The second incident occurred at about 2:30 a.m. in the area of 1030 Commonwealth Avenue, where another woman told police she had arranged for pickup and was “assaulted by an individual she believed to be employed by a rideshare service,” police said.

The victim told police the driver attempted to touch her inappropriately, but she refused his advances and ordered him to stop the car so she could get out, according to police.

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In the third case, a woman told police at about 2:50 a.m. that she had arranged for a ride from Faneuil Hall to Dorchester and “fell asleep [during the trip] and woke to the driver indecently assaulting her,” police said.

Police did not say if any of the cases are connected.

The reports come amid a pitched debate in Massachusetts and elsewhere over regulation of popular ride-share companies that allow customers to use smartphone applications to summon drivers and pay them directly.

Meghan Joyce, general manager for Uber Boston, said the service has measures in place to guard against such incidents.

“Our technology has brought an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency to the transportation industry — with driver and vehicle information provided in-app, detailed email receipts sent after each ride, a 24/7 feedback loop, and the ability to share your journey in real time,” the statement said.

Police urged the public to help solve the case.

“The Boston Police Department continues to actively review and investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding these incidents,” the statement said. “Anyone with information is strongly urged to contact the Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit at (617) 343-4400.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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