Uber sexual assault case rattles Staples community

Uber sexual assault case rattles Staples community

Lili Romann ’19

Thirty-four-year-old Uber driver Sewanou Bisile Yoro was charged with rape, abduction, aggravated sexual assault and arrested in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Monday after allegedly raping a young woman in the Bay Colony area.

“The type of conduct that has been described has no place on the app or anywhere,” Uber said. “The driver has been banned from Uber and we will work with police to provide them with any information that would be useful in their investigation.”

Yoro, part-time Uber driver of three years, reportedly sexually assaulted the woman during the car ride, which she reported to the police, as well as Uber’s 24/seven incident hotline. The driver faced the court in Virginia Beach on Tuesday, March 7.

Katie Zager ’19 is a frequent user of Uber, but has yet to feel endangered by their employees. “I have an app that if I do feel threatened or anything I can hold down the button, and if I let go it will call the cops in almost 10 seconds, unless I disable it with a certain passcode,” Zager said. “So, whenever I feel ‘threatened,’ I guess, I just use the app. Although, I am usually with my friends in the car.”

The number of accusations of sexual assault in Uber pick-ups has accumulated recently, including two lawsuits from separate women that transpired this November in South Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts.

“I feel there should be some more background knowledge on the driver given to the client,” Max Mahr ’19 said. “I think that someone who is under 16 shouldn’t go in an Uber alone unless they feel confident enough.”

Staples students are often taught of the three, helpful ways to get themselves out of uncomfortable situations: Taxi, Uber or SafeRides. SafeRides is essentially a hotline run by Staples students that offers anonymity to their clients. It is a very common alternative to Uber, as it is of no charge, and is made up of the clients’ peers.

“Saferides is confidential, your driver and navigators are fellow students, it’s supported 100 percent by the Westport Police, which is very important in case of emergency,” Katherine Coogan ’17, Social Media Director of Saferides said. “It is just an overall very transparent and good hearted organization, as it’s not trying to generate a profit, and the drivers and navigators are volunteering their own time because they value the safety of their peers.”