MALDEN — An Uber driver has been banned from the ride-hailing service and is being held without bail after allegedly exposing himself to girls in Everett and Malden — the second time in as many years he has been accused of lewd conduct.
Paul J. Griffin, 28, of Malden, was arrested Sunday after a girl went to the Everett police station and said she had seen a man “playing with himself.” She told police the same man had exposed himself to her a month earlier, but she could provide a better description of him this time.
A short time later, police stopped Griffin’s Dodge Caravan, but he drove away with tires screeching, according to a police report. Officers eventually arrested him after a foot chase during which he scaled a fence that was at least 15 feet tall, police said.
Police said Griffin asked for help after his arrest, telling investigators “that he has a problem with exposing himself to young girls.”
“He stated that he is sick of bringing shame on his family and wants help,” according to the report. “He stated that he needs help before his actions progress.”
None of the victims listed in police reports said they had been Uber passengers.
Susan Hendrick, an Uber spokeswoman, said the company is working with police and that Griffin has been banned from the service.
She said he had been a driver with the service since 2014, and had passed a background check when he came on board. Hendrick said Griffin was also a livery driver, so he was not always working with Uber when he took passengers.
Griffin is also accused of touching himself in front of a girl who was walking in Malden Saturday, according to police there, who said they are investigating other similar reports.
In March 2015, Griffin was accused of masturbating inside a vehicle near Suffolk University in Boston and smiling at victims as they walked past. He told police who questioned him in that case that he drove for Uber.
His lawyer in that case, which is pending, has contested the victim identifications that led to his arrest.
“He was never caught in the alleged act, and he has been denying it ever since,” said attorney Mehmet Baysan.
Hendrick, the Uber spokeswoman, said the company was not made aware of that incident at the time.
On Monday, Griffin was arraigned in Malden District Court on charges of lewd conduct, failure to stop for police, and resisting arrest. He hid from view as a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
Judge Dominic Paratore revoked his bail on the Boston case, which means he will remain in custody until at least November. If he is released at that point, he will be held under house arrest, must stay away from girls under 18, and cannot work for Uber.
His lawyer, Daniel Sherwood, said he would try to get Griffin help for the struggles he allegedly mentioned in the police report. He is due back in court Sept. 19.
The incident comes just weeks after another Uber driver, 34-year-old Darnell K. Booth, was accused of assaulting a 16-year-old Everett girl he met while driving for the company, despite what authorities described as a long criminal history.
Uber officials have said the company runs criminal background checks on all new drivers and rescreens them twice a year, as required under a new Massachusetts law.
Drivers can’t join the platform if they have had a felony conviction in the past seven years or a major driving violation, such as a suspended or revoked license or registration, in the past three.
Andy Rosen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.