A driver for the ride-sharing service Uber was arraigned in Boston on Wednesday for allegedly kidnapping and raping a passenger who'd gotten into his car.
The female passenger got into a vehicle operated by Alejandro Done, 46, around 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, according to a statement from the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, available in full on WHDH.
The woman told Done where she wanted to go, but Done “then drove to a location that the passenger was not familiar with, pulled over in a secluded area and jumped in the backseat where she was sitting,” according to the district attorney's office.
Done then “allegedly struck her with his hands, strangled her, locked the car doors so that she could not escape and covered her mouth so she could not scream," the district attorney's office states. "During an ensuing physical struggle, the defendant allegedly sexually assaulted the woman."
After an investigation, the victim identified Done as the rapist. He’s now facing charges of rape, kidnapping, assault to rape and battery, CBS Boston reports.
"This is a despicable crime," Kaitlin Durkosh, spokesperson for Uber, said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim during her recovery. Uber has been working closely with law enforcement and will continue to do everything we can to assist their investigation."
The company has had problems with drivers and sexual assault allegations in the past. Most recently, an Uber driver in New Delhi, India was accused of raping a passenger, resulting in the company being banned in that city and other parts of the country. Earlier this year, a Los Angeles Uber driver was also arrested on charges of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a passenger.
The repeated incidents have raised questions about the thoroughness of Uber's system of background checks. In fact, Uber has lobbied in several states to keep themselves from being subject to the same level of background checks that traditional taxi cabs are, The New York Times reported earlier this month.
An Uber spokesperson told HuffPost, however, that the company's background checks in the United States are already "more stringent and more rigorous" than background checking conducted by most taxi services. Uber says they oppose legislation that would mandate fingerprinting, which they say is inefficient and ultimately ineffective because fingerprinting records are unreliable and many charges never require suspects to be fingerprinted at all. The company also did support legislation in Washington DC that requires background checks going back for at least seven years, according to Buzzfeed.
Earlier this week, the company also faced criticism over price-gouging when it raised prices in the area where a hostage situation was taking place in Sydney, Australia. Uber later backtracked and offered rides for free.