An Uber driver in California has been arrested for allegedly raping an unconscious teenage girl, the Orange County district attorney's office announced this week. The suspect, Samer Alaaeldin Mahran, was charged with four felony sexual assault charges, including one count of rape by use of drugs, and faces up to 28 years in prison if convicted.
Authorities say that Mahran, 23, picked up the girl at a bar in Huntington Beach around 2AM on Saturday morning, after one of her family members ordered an Uber to bring her home. When she didn't return on time, another relative used Uber's tracking feature to locate the car, which was parked not far from the girl's home. The family member found Mahran assaulting the girl in the back seat and the driver then fled the scene, according to police.
The incident comes days after Uber settled a lawsuit brought by two women who said that the ride-hailing company should be held responsible for alleged sexual assault committed by its drivers. Sexual assault allegations made against Uber drivers have long dogged the company, leading to criticism of its background check protocol. Earlier this year, Uber paid $10 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the state of California, which alleged that the company had misled customers about safety. Mahan, who was released from custody on Wednesday after posting a $100,000 bond, had passed Uber's background check, according to CBS Los Angeles.
"We're devastated by what this family has gone through and our hearts are with them," an Uber spokeswoman said in a statement to CNET. "We'll continue working with police to support the investigation and proceedings. The individual has been permanently barred from the app."