Uber Driver Accused of Allegedly Raping Teenager in Cleveland Park

Very disturbing note from the Cleveland Park listserv:

We wanted to let listserv members know about this rape, which occurred in Cleveland Park early Friday morning. Below is the information we received.

Bill Adler and Peggy Robin
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
www.cleveland-park.com

———-

A woman’s teen-age daughter used Uber car serve to return to her home last night after a late evening. The car drove up the family’s driveway around 3:30 AM. The girl walked to the door but the driver called her back. When she went back, the driver struck her on the head and raped her.

The family has a security camera in the driveway. The camera showed the driver carrying the girl’s limp body back to the house. She is now at home, trying to rest. The entire family is of course very shaken.

Because of the cameras, they know who did it. As of this morning, he had not yet been arrested, but many officers are involved and he will be.

Update from Uber:

While there are not many details available, we take these matters extremely seriously. Uber is working closely with the authorities to help in any way possible. We cannot comment on an ongoing criminal matter, but it is our policy to deactivate the driver account of someone if we receive information that they have been suspected of committing a crime. The safety of our users is absolutely paramount, and we will continue to be vigilant that riders’ safety and security are protected. – Rachel Holt, Washington, DC General Manager, Uber

93 Comment

  • wtf. i’ve always felt so safe with uber drivers because it’d be so easy to track them down–there is a record of who was driving the car, their license plate #, the time they picked me up, etc. Poor girl–this is so sad.

    • That’s what I’ve always thought about Uber too. The fact that the guy knew that he could easily be tracked down, and still decided to commit such a crime, is chilling.

    • This seems suspicious – we all know Uber has enemies. Without a police report or any details, I don’t think the accusation should be publicized.

      • People in Cleveland Park heard her screams (and sadly, did nothing to help her). Conspiracy theorizing aside, it appears something terrible happened to a young woman on the night in question at the alleged location.

  • Jesus! Prayers to the young lady.

  • i almost prefer taking the metro or bus over a taxi driver anytime.

  • How awful! Poor young woman.

    I hope the taxi driver is speedily arrested and brought to justice.

  • That makes me sick. My heart goes out to the victim and her family.

  • What. the. hell. The news seems to get worse and worse every day. Everything is depressing me today. Sometimes I’m ashamed to be a human being when I hear shit like this.

  • people are animals, so sick.

  • ANy word from MPD on t his?

  • Apparently this isn’t the first time. From the CP list:

    “According to Yelp reviews this is not the first sexual offense of an Uber driver.

    What has been Uber’s public response?

    Micha

    [Editor's note: You can read about another alleged incident involving an Uber driver here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/uber-washington. You'll need to scroll down to fifth review from the top (at the time of this message.)]“

    • The yelp posting actually makes me a bit suspicious. The posting says “HELP ME SHUT THIS COMPANY DOWN they are all preying on young students.” An attack on the company because one or two drivers committed an attrocious act would not seem reasonable to me… Perhaps I am just being hopeful it is a fictional story becasue it is awful if true.

    • They have nothing to do with DCTC. As far as I can tell, “Capitol Flyer” is a private car service (like Uber), not an actual taxi company. The documents posted are just for LLC registrations…I see nothing about registration as a cab service or anything else. Their phone number and address are in Virginia. Plus they’ve only been in business for a few months, and it looks like they just started running in DC.

      Plus, it looks like they have been posting a bunch of fake reviews. Go to their Yelp page, click on “n Filtered” at the bottom, and you’ll see all of the glowing 5-star reviews from brand new users. Their Google page is similar too.

      So yep. In any case, probably just a deceitful piece of shit who will blatantly lie to the public and defame their competitors just to get customers.

  • THIS FICTIONAL STORY COMES TO YOU COURTESY OF THE DC TAXICAB COMMISSION AND THE DC TAXI DRIVERS’ UNION.

  • If this is true, it is terrible. But I’m withholding judgment until we know more.

  • I agree. We should know more facts before passing judgement.

  • DC taxi cab commission? No it doesn’t, I’m on the listserv for the community jackass.

  • Have police said anything about this? Has anyone asked Uber for comment. I’d be very worried about repeating this story from a listserv without verification.

  • All – please also note that the Washington Post has not picked up this story. I would be shocked that they would not if a police report was indeed filed. The Yelp accusation was a few days ago…. Still no press coverage.

    PoP – I think you should strongly consider removing this post until there is some sort of true substance.

    • I’m with JB on this. Obviously this is a horrible crime if it did occur, but the listserv post and the yelp review just seem awfully weird and lack sufficient detail to be very convincing. My common sense detector is telling me that the story as told in the post above makes so little sense that it’s hard to believe it happened (at least as told). Something just doesn’t seem quite right about this so I’d like some more credible details before I get worked up.

    • I believe PoP is NOT acting irresponsibly by posting this. Either way, this is newsworthy. If it is indeed a crime, we need to know about it. And if it is DC Cab commission dirty work, we need to know about that too. Clearly, this forum is commencing and facilitating the examination of the merits.

      • That’s fair, but the problem is that other blogs have evidently seen it on PoP (or the listserv), and have been “rebroadcasting” it. It becomes the game of telephone, where they move away from describing the listserv post to describing the claims as fact (see DCist’s coverage). People in the comments here note that there are multiple “sources,” but just reviewing any of them and you see the same exact material without anything new or independent. In some circumstances, I see the same exact mistaken assertion blatantly copied from another.

        • Listservs are listservs, blogs are blogs. Consider them both equivalent to the old standing at the water cooler.

          • I do, but others don’t. This whole story, the basis of which is the listserv post, is now on five news sources. It becomes “fact” or a “story” when there are little to no details – which I note that 3 days later there are apparently no additional updates.

  • Uber is a cheap service in a cheap style .you are safer with a taxi cabs or in an officials limousine and sedan from a trusted company that’s been around and have good reference on line or recommended by a friends .don’t be cheap .either take a taxi or go all the way with a good company that’s.

    • Uber is not cheap. Your post doesn’t make any sense.

    • You are definitely a cab driver.

      • The Yelp “review” was fake and so is this. I’m guessing the DC cab association considers this to be the best method for stamping out competition. I pray I’m wrong, but nothing about this story makes sense — unless you’ve been in your cab all day smoking, drinking coffee, and plotting while on your bluetooth…

    • Uber is more expensive than a cab, so therefore not cheap. People are willing to pay a premium for good service. While if true, this is indeed tragic, I’d feel safer in an Uber car than a cab. If something were to happen in an Uber car, there would be a record of the time, place, driver, and I imagine there would also be GPS tracking since they can tell you where the nearest one is. What does a cab have? Taxi licenses are hardly even visible from the visor where they are usually posted, and I doubt a taxi driver would be so kind as to allow me a closer look at his license if he’s attacking me.

  • Thank you for posting this, PoP, since I just talked to the CP beat cops, and they had no idea what I was talking about. I had to literally read them this article.

  • yeah… if there is camera footage showing this and this driver’s face, why isn’t the picture everywhere asking us to help them ID him?

    • He has told the cops everything, the truth! He is already identified and has nothing to hide, he did nothin wrong! She is lying!

  • Some posters are ridiculous. You think the dc cabs are going to plot an extensive conspiracy instead of thinking some creep driver on your precious car service could rape a girl.

    Did you ever think the stock photo and fake name and anonymous post was to protect the identity of the victim?

    FYI the MPD has confirmed that there is a victim and a police report. This probably won’t stop the conspiracy theories, but it should.

    • Stock photo and a certificate of organization for a taxi company?

    • The yelp review isn’t the same as this CP incident. The review claims her daughter, a student at Georgetown, was raped. The info above has more details and seems a lot more legit than the yelp review, which definitely comes across as BS.

    • You’re not very analytical are you?

      • Some people’s “analysis” is taking whatever story they hear, automatically assuming its false, and creating a narrative to fit their “hunch” and then attack anyone who disagrees with them.

        It didn’t take any analysis for me to come to my conclusion. I used the google to find at least 5 news articles about it and it happened a week ago and is just now being reported but the police have been on the case since the beginning.

        “not being analytical” would actually be coming up with some half baked theory based on faulty information (that there was no police report).

        Did you ever stop to wonder why uber would have responded like they did if these were completely baseless accusations? They even called it an active criminal investigation.

        • Look it may be true (and I hope not), but it does seem suspicious with a very similar and pretty likely fake yelp entry (the picture on the profile of the cab company registration leaves me with little faith that it is true, not to mention that there was no press or blog coverage until 3 days after that post). Yes its possible that this story is unrelated to the yelp posting and it is a coincidence that both were released at a similar time and with similar story (my daughter…).

          I and others are not claiming a widespread conspiracy. Rather i think it is possible that an individual cab owner or driver who thinks Uber threatens his livelihood could make such a claim. Time will tell if this is true.

          And there are not five news source. They are all largely repeating the same info and only one did any independent investigation. That’s what happens in news and blogs – all the info is just reposted without any independent verification (see e.g. reporting of the Supreme Court decision). Washington Post, which i assume does independent verification prior to publication, has said yet to say something.

          Finally you said earlier the police confirmed there was a victim. I have read no such claim. Police confirmed that there is an investigation, which they very likely would do when they are forwarded and asked about a story published on the blogs.

          Look it may be true – and again I am hopeful it is not – but there is enough here to be a little skeptical. As more actually concrete info is released we will know more. A healthy dose of skepticism, particularly where there is a lot of information missing and some questionable coincidences, is not a bad thing.

  • Crimes like this should merit capital punishment in my book.

  • This is EXACTLY the problem with Uber. Unlike legal taxi companies there are no guaranteed background checks, there is no drug testing nor are any of the same regulatory steps taken for the drivers/vehicles that sign on with them.
    Technological advancement is already in place, it’s NOT what the legal companies are fighting so hard against Uber for. It’s preventing what we already know could happen without regulation!

  • poor woman. knocked out and raped, then dropped on her doorstep? just horrible.

  • There seems to be enough reason for forensic evidence to convict the driver if true. If nothing becomes of it, then most likely the Uber driver himself is not guilty. Wouldn’t the camera corroborate the story of her walking to the door then back to the car?

  • It seems to me it would be easy to track the driver. I mean the three times I’ve used Uber, they display the driver’s name and his rating by previous users. Seems to me that the company could easily run him down.

    And by the way, if you read HollabackDC, DC cabdrivers also are culprits.

  • What “Teen” is out till 3 AM, Why does she write “Back to her dorm” in one post and “back to the house” in a another post. Why is her photo a stock photo? why would he post a letter of “certificate of organization for Capitol Flyer Transport and Taxi LLC.”

    • As a teen I was regularly out till 3 am. Also, that’s totally irrelevant.

      • odd, That sounds like something a taxi cab driver would say. My questions are relevant as I am just echoing the exact remarks of everyone else here.

        • ha! no. i’m not a taxi driver. i was just an unsupervised teenager.
          and it’s irrelevant why someone was out at 3:00.
          nothing anyone is doing at 3:00 is justification for a crime being committed against them. unless you feel that there is a time period that rape is okay. say 2:15 – 4:00 am? otherwise, no. it’s irrelevant.

          • Good spin on my words related to time, no the is always no acceptable “rape time” but its interesting that has crossed your mind, not mine.

            Well simply By suggesting teen, we all think of ages 13-18 and there are laws for “Teens” to be out that late, with the exception of 18. So i was implying what mom lets their teen 13-17 out without the cops involved. But you can read it as dumb as you want again.

  • http://mpdc.dc.gov/release/suspect-sought-sexual-assaults

    if Anyone has information on a similar open case, please contact Wallace Carmichael MPD.

    • Your kidding right… your showing a story from May 2011 and passing it off as current? Also no mention of Uber, “working as a cab driver”…

  • I’m confused by the discussion going on here. Someone posted a fake Yelp review, and because of this a totally separate incident is also fake? That doesn’t make any sense–I don’t see any evidence at all that the two are related. Why should this family’s account be distrusted just because one time one person posted something untrue on the Internet?

    • There is no evidence that they are related. However, it is somewhat suspicious that a very similar story to one obviously fake happened only 3 days after the fake story. That of course could just be a coincidence.

      What’s more suspicious is that there are no additional details on the story and major news sources, such as the Washington Post, have not reported it at this point. I would be shocked if WashPo did not report an alleged rape in Cleveland Park unless the editors were suspicious that the details were lacking. The story may be true – I hope it is not – but the totality of the circumstances here provoke some skepticism.

  • This whole thing sounds sketch-tastic to me. The camera shows the driver carrying the girl to the door, but not her walking towards it initially and then back to the car when the driver called her back? There’s no name or photo for the driver being sent around? Uber gives you that when they send a car for you. What about the plate number and the make and model of the car from the video? If someone raped my teenage daughter, I’d be sending the photo and the name and all the details of the incident and the still shots from my security system to every blog, listserv, and news outlet in town until the cops arrested the guy. But note, this wasn’t even sent by the parents of the girl – it’s by some nameless source describing the incident to the publishers of the listserv, who then sent it to everyone else.

    I know that I would have been in a world of trouble if I came home at 3:30 in the morning as a teenager. Especially if I came home at that hour and I’d been drinking or using any kind of drugs. Is it possible that this driver merely carried a young girl who had passed out after a night of drinking in his car to her front door and that there was no sex or assault of any kind? Teenagers have been known to stretch the truth to cover up or mitigate bad choices before (I know I did as did many of my friends in high school and college). Is it confirmed that it even was an Uber driver, and not just a black sedan that could be an illegal street hail, or worse, some anonymous privately owned dark-color sedan or SUV from a friend (or a stranger) who picked her up while she was out that night?

    This certainly could be a real rape – in which case I am hopeful for swift justice for the perpetrator and a swift start to the long road to recovery for the victim. However, we should realize that especially with this minimal story, it could be a false rape allegation, which is just tragic in its own right, regardless of the reason for the false accusation.

    It seems sketchy to me that the only detail released is his employer, but nothing about him, or more detail into the incident. And that it’s coming not from the accuser, not from her family, but through a fourth party (listserv editors) who got the info from a third party (who isn’t named) who found out about it from somewhere and sent it to a fifth party (this blog). I’d like to hear from someone actually involved that anything actually happened…

  • Uber Driver Accused of Allegedly Raping Teenager in Cleveland Park

    I wonder what the PoPville reaction would be if the above sentence replaced the word “Uber” with “Cab driver”?

    • The difference is that the travel of a cab driver is not tracked via GPS. The name of the driver would not necessarily be know.

      With uber, the client knows the name of the driver, and the route is tracked. There would be no possible way that the uber driver could deny being ere, and they would be able to track them down in the first place. Unlike cabs.

      So yes, reactions would be very different.

      • That ain’t the only difference, anonymous.

        • POsted too soon, sorry.

          Also… as some cab drivers allow other people drive under their license.. this is also possible with Uber? The car is tracked, not the driver, so the car could have been tracked to the location.

          “Uber is working closely with the authorities to help in any way possible.”
          Interesting to me.

        • so what are the differences that you are implying, indentified?

          • See my post above.

          • indentified, you didn’t mention what you thought the difference would be if the titled said ” cab driver”. i’m just asking what you’re getting at. i don’t take uber or cabs, so i don’t get it.

    • It could be different, but I think much of the reaction is more related to the fact that this story originated from a listserv post and not from a police report. The details on whether there was an incident report and what it said are still quite sketchy. (I know police are investigating, but as I said before, they probably would investigate when sent the listserv post or this PoP article.)

      • Investigation of rapes is handled quite different from other crimes.

        The hammer murderer took more than 3 days for the full story/investigation to come to light, with conflicting reports… was that “sketchy” to you too?

        • I understand that sexual assaults are treated differently. Making a comparison to an unrelated anecdote with the hammer story doesn’t offer anything. (FWIW, while there were conflicting accounts on that, the story did not originate from a listserv, but rather from a police warning.) This may be a true story, I hope not, but there is a lot of strange aspects. The “sketchy” details are that it was posted on a listserv first, that there are no other independent reports, and there was the clearly fake Yelp posting with a very similar (but not identical) allegation only 3 days earlier. One additional issue – the listserv said police knew the perp, yet three days later there has been no announcement of an arrest, release of the perp’s info so folks can call in, etc. These very well may be a mix of coincidences and just a slow release of the facts, but there is enough for me to be skeptical. We will see details as they come out. Until then I am bit skeptical based on the totality of the circumstances, and I hope that it is indeed fake so that there is no victim.

          By the way, to your earlier comment, could a driver borrow an Uber account? Yes, in theory, but the user has the picture of the driver on the phone. So it would be a little harder to do so if the user looks at the picture. Also, the Uber driver would then have to pay the person who was driving unlike where a cab is borrowed, as there is no money that is exchanged when you get a ride through Uber.

          Uber working with police is notable, but as I have said before, I think it’s perfectly reasonable that the police would launch an investigation based on the listserv post alone. (In addition, if it is indeed fake, Uber would certainly want to work with police to get as much information as they can to inform what legal action to take.)

          • My relating another crime investigation is pertinent – crimes take time to investigate, and police do not always publicize what is going on when an investigation is ongoing.

            But as you say, We will see details as they come out. I hope that justice is served. And if this is somehow a fake case, I hope that too receives justice.

            And if it is not, I hope that driver is severly punished and Uber thinks about runnign their own background checks on drivers – outside what is required by DCTC licensing.

          • Agreed that justice should be served no matter what details come forward.

  • I’m really conflicted about what to think of this report. On the one hand, I’m loath to question this type of allegation, because it is SO common (at least, based on what I’ve observed from female friends) for women reporting rapes to be brushed off by police and doubted by friends and acquaintances, and it’s a really devastating experience for victims, on top of the sexual assault. So I hate to contribute to the too-frequent phenomenon of knee-jerk casting doubt.

    On the other hand, like a couple of other commenters here, the facts that Uber does have enemies and that the vague report came third-hand via a listserv with little official comment or confirmation by police officials does seem strange. (And for the record, I’ve never used Uber and I’ve taken cabs about twice in the last three years, so I don’t have a vested interest in either side of the business.) I think the taxi industry has shown it’s not above some dirty tricks. Add to that the nutballs who perpetrate random online hoaxes for all kinds of reasons–or no real reason at all–and it does raise doubts. I hope either the Post investigates or MPD releases a more detailed statement in the near future.

    • I should clarify the above. The part of me that doubts the report doubts that the teenage victim exists at all; I don’t believe that a real teenage girl fabricated a rape allegation in an attempt to give Uber a bad name. If this is an anti-Uber conspiracy or a random hoax, it could very well be that the hoaxer was aware of an existing police investigation into a Cleveland Park-area rape, and used that as a cover to further legitimize the story sent to the listserv.

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