“I Was Just Sexually Assaulted By My Uber Driver”: Man Arrested And Charged For Raping Passenger

December 30, 2014  |  

A former Uber driver in Chicago has been hit with criminal assault and criminal sexual battery charges after a young woman said he forced himself on her during a ride home.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the woman was hanging out with her co-workers on the North Side of the city when she decided to call an Uber in the early hours of November 16. She was picked up by Maxime Fohounhedo around 3 a.m., and instead of riding in the back per the usual, she was asked to ride shotgun. Fohounhedo claimed that he didn’t know the directions to get to her place and said she should sit in the front to point out where he should go.

After a short while, Fohounhedo started to touch the woman inappropriately as he pulled up to a residence that was not her own, and she ended up blacking out. It’s unclear if she blacked out from his attack or from being inebriated, but when she awoke, the woman told police that Fohounhedo was on top of her, and on top of her in an unidentified residence on the 2600 block of West Lawrence Avenue.

According to the Tribune, Fohounhedo finally took the woman to her residence after assaulting her, and when she got home, she contacted a friend to tell them that she had been raped. According to the Washington Post, in the police report, officers said that her message to her friend read like this:

“I was just sexually assaulted by my Uber driver and I’m supberb[sic] drunk, but I need someone to remind me to follow through to make sure this never happens again.”

Hours later, she went to police and filed a report. Afterwards, she was taken to the hospital.

Since then, Fohounhedo, who was a driver for the lower cost option UberX, was removed as a driver by the company and charged by police. He is scheduled for a bond hearing today.

Back when police were first investigating the assault claim, a spokesperson for the company, Jennifer Mullin, had this to say:

“We immediately removed the driver from the Uber platform when we learned of the incident and are cooperating with the Chicago Police Department in the ongoing investigation.

This is an appalling and unacceptable incident, and first and foremost our thoughts are with the victim and her family.”

Mullin also stated that drivers do undergo a “rigorous background check.”

Uber is a car ride-sharing service available in more than 50 countries, and it was picked as USA Today’s tech company of the year in 2013. But Uber has also faced quite a bit of criticism, specifically from taxi companies who oppose it, as well as from people who criticize it for occasional exorbitant trip prices and for putting passengers and other people’s safety at risk. In August, a driver suffered a seizure that resulted in the individual hitting a pedestrian. A man was reportedly kidnapped in D.C. after an Uber driver wouldn’t let him out of the car as it was being chased by police. And a driver in San Francisco was charged with manslaughter after hitting a family walking in a crosswalk. A 6-year-old girl died.

But despite all that, the service is gaining popularity for its convenience, and considering that taxi cab drivers aren’t out here with flawless records, more needs to be done in general to ensure the safety of passengers.

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