Women in two sexual assaults used Uber
Police say 3 cases may not be related
At least two of three women who police said were indecently assaulted Sunday while using ride-sharing services in Boston had ordered vehicles through Uber, according to authorities.
The attacks were reported between 12 and 3 a.m. and occurred in Dorchester, the Allston-Brighton area, and an unspecified location between Faneuil Hall and Dorchester, Boston police said in a statement on their blog Monday night.
“The victims in two or more of the cases indicated that they had utilized the Uber app to secure transportation,” said Officer James Kenneally, a police spokesman.
As of Tuesday night the three incidents did not appear to be connected, Kenneally said.
Uber officials could not confirm any connection between the company and the assaults, according to spokesman Taylor Bennett. “We have no evidence to suggest any Uber partner was involved,” Bennett said.
At about 12:58 a.m. Sunday, a woman reported to police that she had arranged for a ride from Dorchester Avenue and Columbia Road using a ride-sharing service. After entering an approaching vehicle, the driver offered her money and “touched her inappropriately,” according to police.
The victim then received a text from her assigned ride-sharing driver saying that he had arrived to pick her up, so she demanded that the driver of the vehicle she was in stop and allow her to get out, police said.
Later, at 2:34 a.m., another woman reported being assaulted by a driver whom she believed was working for a ride-sharing service, police said. That victim had arranged to be picked up on Commonwealth Avenue and taken home.
When she entered the vehicle, she reported that the driver tried to touch her inappropriately, according to police.
The third incident was reported a short time later, at about 2:50 a.m. A female victim told officers she had secured a ride from Faneuil Hall to a Dorchester location with a ride-sharing service. But once inside the vehicle, the victim fell asleep and woke up to the driver indecently assaulting her, Boston police said.
The assaults were reported at a time when Governor Deval Patrick is pushing for statewide regulation of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, two programs that allow customers to use applications on their smartphones to request drivers and pay for rides directly.
Such services are also under fire from the traditional taxi industry, which has labeled their lack of transparency and regulation a public safety issue.
The new set of rules proposed by Patrick’s administration would require employers at ride-sharing companies to conduct national background checks and bar applicants with convictions in the past 10 years for serious crimes. Registered sex offenders would be banned from working for ride-sharing companies under the proposed regulations.