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Uber Driver Sentenced In Rape Of Passenger As The Car Service Faces A Growing List of Controversies

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 20/10/2015 Sebastian Murdock

A former Massachusetts Uber driver has been sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison after raping a female passenger, adding to a growing list of Uber drivers accused of sexual assault.

Boston native Alejandro Done, 47, who pled guilty, was sentenced last Friday on charges including kidnapping, assault and battery, and aggravated rape, according to USA Today.

On Dec. 6, 2014, Done picked up a woman heading to her home in Cambridge. Done told the woman that she would have to pay him in cash. The two went to an ATM to withdraw money, then Done drove her to a secluded location, reported the Star Tribune.

Done kept the victim trapped in the car as he strangled and sexually assaulted her. 

The felon has previously been charged with five other unsolved sexual assaults that happened in the Boston area between 2006 and 2010. That case is still pending. Uber told USA Today that Done had passed a background check, and had no prior criminal record.

"The defendant preyed upon a young woman who trusted that he was who he portrayed himself to be," District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement. "I encourage the public to take precautions when using any ride-sharing service."

In another recent case, in South Carolina, a sixth-grade teacher, who was moonlighting as an Uber driver was arrested on charges of kidnapping and forcible rape. Patrick Aiello, 39, allegedly assaulted a 23-year-old woman in August. The woman managed to escape from the car and was struck by another one in the process.  

A former Uber driver in India, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was convicted of raping a female passenger Tuesday. 

Many states in the U.S. are demanding that Uber ensure its background checks are more thorough. Last year, prosecutors in California filed a complaint against the ride-hailing service for failing to adequately vet drivers, some of whom have been convicted sex offenders, kidnappers and murderers.

Last April, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker proposed a bill giving his state oversight in background checks. Uber has backed the legislation proposal, and hosts a petition on its website in favor of the governor's plan, which has more than 30,000 signatures.

Uber faces a litany of other problems. Last weekend, drivers called for a strike and demanded better pay and higher fares. The service has been suspended in Spain for creating unfair competition and it is banned in Italy for not adhering to licensing rules. French taxi drivers, who were upset by having to compete with Uber, took to the streets last summer, smashing cars and setting tires on fire.

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