Watch CBS News

Uber Driver Fired After Being Charged With Sexually Assaulting Passenger

METHUEN (CBS) -- An Uber driver charged with sexually assaulting a passenger on a ride from Methuen to Norwood Saturday has been fired.

Junior Clarke, 31, of Lawrence, was charged with indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, assault and battery, and accosting/annoying a person of the opposite sex.

"We've been in contact with the rider to offer our support and are working with State Police to aid their investigation," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday. "The driver has been banned from the platform."

State Police said the 25-year-old woman requested an Uber to pick her up at a friend's house just before 5 a.m. Saturday.

She told police she had never used the ride-sharing service before, and said Clarke told her to sit up front with him.

After a few minutes, State Police said, Clarke began asking the woman personal questions about relationships. Throughout the trip from Methuen to Norwood, police say he told her to kiss him several times, which she refused.

Investigators said that, at that point, Clarke began to touch her inappropriately and make obscene, sexual statements.

The passenger alerted a family member that she was being assaulted, and that family member called 911.

Police responded to the passenger's drop-off location in Norwood, but Clarke had left just a few minutes before.

Troopers were able to identify Clarke based on the information provided to them by the passenger. After they made contact with Clarke, he agreed to meet them at their Andover barracks, where he was arrested.

Clarke posted his $40 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned in Woburn District Court Thursday.

At Clarke's home in Lawrence, a neighbor told WBZ-TV's Anna Meiler that she can't believe the allegations.

"It's shocking," she said. "I don't think he's a person like that."

It's not clear if Clarke has had any past run-ins with the law, but Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said this incident is one more reason why more needs to be done to keep passengers safe.

"That could have happened in the streets of Boston," Walsh said Wednesday morning. "I want to be able to have control of doing background checks to make sure that the people of Boston who take Uber, or who take any ride-sharing services, are safe."

Police say there are precautions people can take to keep themselves safe and to help them investigate.

"You want to make sure that you try and use what we call the buddy system," said Methuen Police Lt. Greg Gallant.

Police say that, when requesting a ride on the Uber app, riders should take a screenshot of the driver's name and license plate. Then, they should send it to a friend, let them know where they're going, and ask them to check in during the ride.

"If, God forbid, something does happen that's bad, the police will actually be able to track the vehicle, make the phone calls that we need to make, involve the people that we need to involve to find out exactly where you are."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.