By Courtney Cole, WBZ-TV
BOSTON – A Boston man is being held without bail after prosecutors said he was impersonating an Uber driver to target and sexually assault women who were intoxicated in Downtown Boston.
William Mancortes, 43, of Hyde Park was arraigned Monday on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery in connection with a string of 2017 assaults. Mancortes allegedly picked up women outside of college dorms and bars.
"It's clear, that Mr. Mancortes, through DNA matches, has done this on more than one occasion," Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Daniel Nucci said in court on Monday.
Mancortes is being accused of assaulting them inside of his vehicle.
Prosecutors said there were incidents in January, April and May of 2017.
"I understand that these cases are five years old, however there have been multiple sexual assaults with similar M.O.'s around the city, of someone impersonating an Uber driver and preying on young women who seem to be under influence of alcohol," Nucci said.
An Uber spokesperson said the company has developed a number of safety features in the app, in recent years. Among them:
- An emergency button that allows riders to reach out to 911 by tapping a button found in the safety toolkit.
- A 911 integration pilot is in use in 1,800 jurisdictions. If a rider or driver uses the emergency button, key trip details will be sent to 911 dispatchers, including the caller's name, make and model of the Uber car, license plate, and GPS.
- GPS tracking is enabled on every trip.
- PIN verification gives riders the option to receive a code to provide to their driver before the trip begins.
- RideCheck makes sure drivers and riders are OK in the event of a possible crash or long stop.
- Trusted Contacts allows riders to designate up to five friends and family members who will receive trip details during every ride or nighttime trips.
- Riders can use Share My Trip in the app to share their driver's name, photo, license plate, and location with a friend or family member.
Rideshare users told WBZ-TV spoke to said these features help them to feel safe during their rides.
"The picture of the driver is really important and the license plate matching, so you really have to be careful," Colleen Jezersek said.
"I think it's helpful to know that they've also been properly vetted, so they already have ratings. So, it's usually not just like 1 to 5 drives that they've been on. It's usually over 1000," added Teresa Ngo.
Prosecutors said DNA was the key in linking Mancortes to three cases. Although each of the victims completed a rape kit back in 2017, Mancortes' profile wasn't added to the DNA database until this year.
Mancortes is set to be in court again on Thursday for a dangerousness hearing to determine if he could be eligible for bail.
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