An ex-Uber driver has been sentenced to serve up to 12 years in prison, after he pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated rape, kidnapping, assault and battery.
Alejandro Done, aged 47, has been convicted following a felony which occurred last year, on December 6. At the time, Done managed to convince a woman who was waiting for a Uber ride on Tremont Street in Boston that his vehicle was the one that had been assigned for the trip.
Afterwards, the culprit drove her to an ATM, claiming that he only accepted cash payments. Instead of taking her to the location she had specified, Done then drove her to another secluded area, believed to be in Somerville or Cambridge.
This is when the man climbed into the backseat and attacked his client by hitting and strangling her. Eventually, despite the woman’s struggles, the taxi driver sexually assaulted her.
As Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan explains, the defendant took advantage that his female victim had trusted him and the taxi-hailing company he represented completely.
“I encourage the public to take precautions when using any ride-sharing service. While these apps are a modern convenience, they are not without their risks”, insisted the district attorney.
In order to prevent such tragedies from happening, customers are advised to carefully check the vehicle’s license plate, brand and number. Moreover, they should remain constantly in alert, and fully attentive to their surroundings.
It appears that Done had also committed 4 other sexual assaults: 2 of them took place in South Boston in July 2006 and June 2010, and the other 2 occurred on the Esplanade along Charles River, in July 2007 and July 2009.
The seemingly random attacks were described as violent and predatory, and the victims had been women walking alone late at night, mostly during the weekend.
When Done was arrested for raping his victim in December, authorities found a DNA match with those felonies as well. The Suffolk County Court found him guilty of those previous charges last month, and now he has also been charged following his latest crime as well.
Meanwhile, Uber insisted that, upon being hired, the man had actually passed a background check on a local, state and federal level. Also, company officials claim they were instrumental in law enforcement’s success when it came to tracking down the perpetrator and identifying him.
It appears that another sexual assault which was orchestrated by a Uber driver occurred in Boston at the beginning of 2015. Since the incident, the victim has filed a civil lawsuit against the company, under the accusation that although services tend to target female customers, little is done to ensure their safety.
Currently, legislation meant to impose stricter guidelines for Uber and Lyft is being reviewed by the Massachusetts State House.
If these proposals are approved, it will mean that the transportation network companies will have to prominently display official signs on their vehicles and conduct more comprehensive background checks on their drivers.
Image Source: WCVB