L.A. Uber Driver Investigated for Sexual Assault

An off-duty Uber driver was being investigated for sexual assault, Los Angeles authorities said today.

A woman reported she was attacked at Overland Avenue and Palms Boulevard in Palms sometime early Sunday, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Jack Richter told L.A. Weekly. The driver "was not on-duty at the time," he said.

Twitter crime account Venice311, which first reported the alleged attack, said the victim was taken to UCLA's Rape Treatment Center, which is in Santa Monica. A Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman could find no record of such a transport, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen via police or private vehicle.

The driver was not arrested, Richter emphasized.

"He was not booked," he said. "Detectives are still trying to figure out what happened, what the circumstances are."

It's not clear how the victim ended up in the man's car, Richter said. "This woman had requested an Uber ride and got a ride with this guy," he said.

In a statement sent to the Weekly, Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend said the UberX driver in question had not been providing rides for the firm since Friday. She says the ride-share company parted ways with the driver, at least temporarily, after it found out about the investigation:

Our thoughts are with the victim of this terrible incident. We immediately reached out to LAPD and are working closely with them to provide any assistance we can. The driver in question has been removed from the platform while we gather the facts.

We reached out to the detective handling the case but did not hear back.

Last year police alleged that an off-duty Uber driver scooped up a passed-out-drunk woman outside an L.A. club and took her to a motel, but the investigation was dropped after detectives were unable to track the rider down.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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