36-year-old Uber driver Sargon Nano has been charged with sexually abusing a rider more than a year ago, and prosecutors say the driver has a history of acting “sexually inappropriate” with passengers.
Nano has been charged with one felony count of criminal sexual abuse and a misdemeanor count of battery for the incident on September 1, 2018.
According to a spokeswoman for Uber, Nano was banned from using the app after the woman filed the complaint and he has not given a ride with Uber since then.
Authorities reviewed Nano’s Uber records and discovered that “multiple prior complaints had been made against him by other customers for sexually inappropriate behavior,” according to Assistant State’s Attorney Lorin Jenkins.
According to prosecutors, the 29-year-old victim was out with her sister and requested a ride through the Uber app at about 11:30 p.m. last September 1. Nano picked them up in a Dodge Journey.
After dropping off the woman’s sister at her Old Town apartment, Nano reportedly began to take the 29-year-old woman to her home on the West Side, according to prosecutors. During this part of the ride, the woman reported that she was confused because Nano started asking her for directions. She asked him why the Uber app wasn’t providing directions.
Prosecutors say that Nano told her he shut off the app and decided to give her the rest of the ride for free. He then allegedly pulled over and insisted that the woman move to the front passenger seat, saying that he would not continue driving her if she refused. She got into the front passenger seat, and Nano allegedly began trying to hold her hand as he was driving. Prosecutors say that he then pulled over again, grabbed her arm, kissed her, and started fondling her.
The woman told Nano to stop and eventually convinced him to stop driving again. But he pulled over and kissed her again a short time later, according to prosecutors. He also allegedly placed her hand on his crotch. She told him to stop again. He then took her phone, put his contact information in it, and then texted himself, according to prosecutors. The woman left the vehicle once she recognized her neighborhood and walked home.
The woman called her mother and told her what had happened and also told her boyfriend about the alleged assault. She then filed a police report and a report with Uber. Police took photographs of arm bruises from when Nano grabbed her, according to prosecutors.
Nano turned himself in on Wednesday and was taken into custody. The woman identified him in a lineup, according to court records.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent represents victims of sexual assault in civil lawsuits against Uber. Brian has offered to add some general information on the legal rights of those who have been sexually assaulted by drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies:
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have become extremely popular in recent years. While these services are extremely convenient, these companies have also recently been criticized for allegedly failing to properly vet their drivers. There have even been over 100 reports of passengers being sexually assaulted by drivers for Uber and Lyft. Many of these survivors have fought back by filing lawsuits against the companies.
Rideshare companies have a legal duty to make sure their customers are safe from preventable dangers, including sexual assaults committed by their drivers. In some cases, these assaults may have been prevented if not for negligence by the company. For example, a rideshare company might be considered negligent if customers had filed previous reports of inappropriate sexual behavior by a driver, but that driver was permitted to continue driving for the company.
If you’re a survivor of sexual assault by an Uber driver, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the company. You can learn more about your legal options by calling one of our experienced sexual assault victims attorneys for a free consultation.