A former driver for Uber and Lyft has been charged with sexually assaulting a number of ladies whereas on the job, and Southern California investigators stated that there are doubtless extra victims.
An 18-year-previous school scholar reported that she was assaulted Friday afternoon after requesting an Uber automotive in a metropolis close to San Diego, stated Escondido police Lt. Justin Murphy.
The lady informed police that the driving force picked her up on the Palomar College campus in San Marcos and instantly turned off the Uber app. She texted pals, telling them she felt uncomfortable, after which he drove her to a different location the place he attacked her inside his blue 2014 Chrysler mini-van, Murphy stated.
Later that day, police arrested Jeremy Vague, 37, at his house.
The former school basketball participant, who’s 7 ft tall and weighs 270 kilos, pleaded not responsible Wednesday to a number of sexual assault fees. A telephone itemizing for Vague couldn’t be discovered and his lawyer couldn’t be reached for remark.
In the course of the investigation, Murphy stated detectives found the extra victims, together with two 19-year-previous ladies within the neighboring metropolis of Escondido.
Vague had given one in every of them a Lyft journey on Sept. 7, and the opposite was ready on the vacation spot. Vague requested to take an image with the 2 of them and as they posed he touched them inappropriately, Murphy stated.
On Sept. 6, one other scholar, who had not requested a experience, referred to as Palomar College police to report that Vague had tried to lure her into his minivan, however she had refused. Campus police determined no crime had occurred, however they contacted Vague and informed him to keep away from the school. Neither Uber nor Lyft was notified of the incident, Murphy stated. It was unclear whether or not the lady and school police had recognized Vague as an Uber or Lyft driver.
It was additionally unclear when the businesses have been contacted concerning the different two assaults or once they ended Vague’s employment.
According to courtroom data, Vague pleaded responsible to a misdemeanor cost of auto housebreaking in northern Utah stemming from a July 2002 incident. The Associated Press reported on the time that Vague and one other man have been arrested for stealing golf golf equipment.
No one at both firm responded to emails asking whether or not they knew about his document and whether or not that may have prevented him from being employed.
In April, Uber agreed to pay at the very least $10 million to settle allegations by California prosecutors that it misled passengers concerning the high quality of its driver background checks. San Francisco and Los Angeles prosecutors sued in 2014, saying Uber’s background checks have been inferior to what taxi drivers bear as a result of they didn’t embrace fingerprint checks for previous convictions. Instead, the San Francisco-based firm’s course of depends on a reputation search of different legal databases and motorcar division information going again seven years.
Lyft settled an analogous case final yr by agreeing to pay $250,000 and cease claiming its background checks have been among the many business’s greatest.
Both ridesharing corporations are cooperating with authorities.
Lyft stated in a press release that the corporate has “a strict zero-tolerance policy for any type of violent behavior, abuse or harassment and have permanently deactivated the driver’s access to the platform. Drivers on the Lyft platform undergo a thorough criminal background check across local, state and federal databases that go back in time to the maximum extent allowable by law.”
A press release from Uber stated, “There is no excuse for the violent acts described and reported to police. We are working with law enforcement officials to fully support their investigation, and the driver has been banned from accessing the Uber app.”
Vague, who’s married, had labored for Lyft for 9 months and Uber for 3 months, Murphy stated.
Vague additionally has labored as a coach for a highschool women’ basketball staff in San Diego County. He performed basketball for at the very least one season for Utah State University in 2000 and 2001, in line with the group’s web site.
A invoice requiring stricter background checks for ridesharing corporations has handed the California Legislature and is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.
It would prohibit the businesses from hiring drivers who’re registered intercourse offenders, have been convicted of violent felonies or have a driving underneath the affect conviction up to now seven years.
Neither medicine nor alcohol have been elements within the sexual assault instances, police stated.
Police consider there could also be extra victims and Murphy urged them to name authorities.
“We’re asking you to find the courage to come forward so we can hold Vague accountable for his actions,” he stated.
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