Driving service Uber is in trouble again. In yet another incident that raises questions pertaining to Uber’s overall safety and its background verification protocols, a 40-year-old Uber driver originally from Boston has been arrested and charged with the rape of one of his female passengers. According to WALB 10 News, the Uber driver identified as John M. Kamens allegedly raped and then robbed one of his passengers after dropping her off at her home in Athens, Georgia. The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, is a resident of Athens, the report adds.
According to the Athens Banner Herald, the incident happened on December 14. Kamens had earlier in the day picked up and dropped the woman at her home, who is reportedly 28-years-old. He however returned to the location a few hours later and allegedly raped her before burglarizing her home.
Update: Athens Banner Herald has since then pulled the article.
According to Captain Mike Hunsinger who is investigating the case, the charges against the driver are allegedly solid.
“The suspect is an Uber driver and made contact with the victim while providing her transportation the night of the incident. Evidence indicates the burglary was with the intent to commit the felonious assault. The offender was identified by investigators using information provided by the victim and through investigative follow-up.”
The Uber driver was arrested on Wednesday and was charged with aggravated sodomy with force and first-degree burglary. What makes this case even more alarming is the fact that Kamens did not have any criminal history. He is currently being held at the Clarke County Jail. No bail amount has been set at this time.
According to WALB News 10, Kamens is also a full time Athens-Clarke County employee who has been working there for close to two decades. Many of his co-workers are shocked by the allegations.
Solid Waste Director Suki Janssen spoke of her employee.
“Just shock. He’s a long-term employee here, and he’s been great for our department. So, we were all very surprised. He’s been here over 15, I believe 18 years, he’s been with Athens-Clarke County. His title is a customer service rep. He would deliver bags to different places in our downtown district that sell bags for us, and he also handles trash and recycling roll cart deliveries.”
After the incident came to light, Uber issued a statement on the incident.
“This is an appalling crime and our thoughts are with the victim as she recovers from this horrific ordeal.”
This latest incident of crime by an Uber driver is only going to lead to concerns regarding the overall safety aspect of the car service application that has earned worldwide popularity ever since its advent a few years ago. As you might be already aware, this is not the first time that an Uber driver has been accused of raping a female passenger. Several reports have come in from countries across the world where Uber drivers have managed to commit crimes against their passengers.
One of the earliest cases was from India where a lady passenger was raped by an Uber driver in the capital city of Delhi. Since that incident, the legality of Uber cars across India remains under question — even though the company still operates in several Indian cities. In the U.S. too, there have been several instances of Uber drivers sexually assaulting their woman passengers. Lawsuits against Uber have been filed in several cities across the U.S. — including California, Boston, and New Jersey — the latest one being filed by two female passengers in October.
Uber has, on its part, repeatedly claimed it conducts background checks on its drivers and selects only qualified drivers. However, the repeat instances of crime against women in Uber cars is definitely giving bad press to the company. That said, in this latest alleged incident of rape by an Uber driver, it should be noted that the perpetrator had a clean history with no criminal record whatsoever.
Would you still trust any Uber driver after reading this news?
[Image Via Jezebel]