Uber driver questioned in connection with Cleveland Park rape

Thomas Warren, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Police have questioned an Uber car service driver in connection with the rape of a woman in Cleveland Park earlier this month.

According to a police report, the 20-year-old woman says a man approached her from behind and pushed her up against the garage door about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 8.

The push caused her to fall, and she hit her head on the ground. It was at that point the man raped her, according to the report.

WTOP has been in touch with a neighbor who is close to the woman’s family.

The neighbor says the family believes the man was an Uber driver because the woman used the service to get home that night.

D.C Police are investigating the allegations. The driver has been interviewed, but not charged with any crime, says D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier of the case.

“In terms of taking away someone’s freedom, making an arrest you have to consider a lot of different factors, and forensic evidence is one of them,” Lanier says.

Uber is cooperating in the investigation, Lanier says.

Before police confirmed to WTOP that they’re investigating whether an Uber driver was involved in the incident, the company released the following statement:

“While there are not many details available, we take these matters extremely seriously. Uber is working closely with the authorities to help in any way possible. We cannot comment on an ongoing criminal matter, but it is our policy to deactivate the driver account of someone if we receive information that they have been suspected of committing a crime. The safety of our users is absolutely paramount, and we will continue to be vigilant that riders’ safety and security are protected.”

Through Uber, customers can request a ride in a black sedan by mobile app, text message or the Web. Professional drivers can choose to use the app to connect with customers.

Drivers are paid through Uber but are not employed by the company.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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