Accused Rapist With a Mile-long Rap Sheet Is the Latest Blow Against Uber

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Uber claims it conducts lengthy background checks for all of its would-be drivers, but an investigation conducted in the wake of an alleged Boston-area rape says otherwise.

Darnell Booth, 34, of Dorchester, Massachusetts stands accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while working for the company. The crime, allegedly committed in early July, gives anti-Uber foes another weapon, and calls the company’s vetting process into question.

The alleged victim claims she met Booth when he Ubered her to Everett on June 30. She claims he then added her to Snapchat on July 4, and sent a message about being outside her house. She didn’t leave the property, but needed to use Uber the next day. That’s when the alleged rape occurred. Booth was arrested last Wednesday.

Uber claims it thoroughly vets its drivers, looking back more than seven years, but an investigation by WCVB turned up a long list of red flags. According to the news team, Booth has an eight-page criminal record, has served more than two jail sentences, and was once arrested for selling drugs in a school zone. One of the sentences (for assaulting a corrections officer) was well within the seven-year vetting window.

Booth began working for the company in February, and is now permanently banned. That does nothing to ease existing worries about Uber’s drivers. For those who think the charge is simply hearsay, prosecutors in the case say they have DNA evidence linking Booth to the assault.

Uber operates in over 500 cities worldwide. Since its launch, the ride-sharing company has raised the ire of cabbies (who claim lost revenue) and some business and safety advocates.

[Image: Flickr]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • VoGo VoGo on Aug 16, 2016

    How many people are raped by autonomous vehicles? Just sayin'...

    • See 2 previous
    • -Nate -Nate on Aug 16, 2016

      @VoGo At least he didn't offer free candy..... . I too was creeped out by the Johnny Cab driver manikin , no way was that accidental . . -Nate

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Aug 16, 2016

    The issue for Uber is that they've claimed they're not liable because these people are ostensibly contractors. When this was pointed out to be tenuous justification at best, they further attempted to distance themselves from liability by marketing the vetting process. The issue isn't that taxi companies and cabbies are saintly, it's that they have to carry insurance and be liable. Uber's trying to make money without any of the risks or obligations, externalizing all of the costs their competitors have to pay onto Uber's contractors and users because "disruption".

    • See 1 previous
    • Mopar4wd Mopar4wd on Aug 16, 2016

      Yeah I"m fine with Uber replacing taxis, but their methods in many cases are very sketchy and in alot of cases downright illegal. And like a spoiled child any attempt to even add light handed regulation results in them leaving and crying to mommy. So I try to avoid using it as much as possible now. Shame really the future had to come from scumbags.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Aug 16, 2016

    I'll take "The Rapists" for 400 please Alex.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Aug 17, 2016

    From Wikipedia: "In German, über is a preposition, as well as being used as a prefix. Both uses indicate a state or action involving increased elevation or quantity in the physical sense, or superiority or excess in the abstract." Never trust a company which uses the German word for superior as its name. Uber never accepts that it has gotten anything wrong. They are incapable of self-reflection and even a modicum of humility. Consequently, if a few customers get hurt while Uber rises to power, so what?