A Lyft driver from the Chicago area has been charged with battery after allegedly sexually harassing and assaulting with a 17-year-old passenger.
According to Lyons police, Anthony Vicari was called to pick up a 17-year-old girl in Worth and bring her to her family’s home in Lyons on October 12. The girl told police that during the car ride, Vicari repeatedly made sexual advances and attempted to persuade her to go to a hotel with him. She also told officers that he repeatedly rubbed her thigh and leg while stopped at red lights and would ask her sexual questions.
The girl and her mother contacted Lyons police the next day to report the incident. Police investigated the allegations and identified Vicari as a suspect. Police interviewed Vicari and detectives say he admitted to touching the girl, blaming the incident on his recent divorce.
Vicari has no previous convictions but has been arrested for past sex-related offenses several times. However, these arrests were not prosecuted.
While there is no publicly available data on sexual assaults by drivers for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, an April 2018 report by CNN found at least 120 cases of Uber and Lyft drivers sexually assaulting passengers accused in the US.
Several states, including California, Texas, Colorado, and Massachusetts, have investigated Uber and Lyft for allegedly failing to properly screen drivers and hiring drivers with criminal histories.
Uber has been sued at least three times for sexual assault, including a lawsuit filed in California’s US District Court or the Northern District in November 2017. In this lawsuit, nine women allege that their Uber driver sexually assaulted them in separate incidents.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent represents the victims of sexual assault in civil lawsuits. We’ve asked him to share some thoughts on the legal options available to those who have been sexually assaulted by drivers of Lyft, Uber, and other rideshare services:
Rideshare services are extremely convenient but are not without their risks. It’s crucial for these services to do all that they can to properly vet their drivers and make sure that their customers are never in danger of being assaulted, robbed, or victimized in any other fashion. But unfortunately, prominent rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber have recently come under fire for allowing predators to drive for them and sexually assault their customers.
When a rideshare customer is sexually assaulted, it’s important to determine if the company was negligent in a way that enabled the assault to occur – such as failing to run a background check and hiring a driver with a history of sexual misconduct.
If you or someone you love has been sexually assaulted by a rideshare service driver, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking to one of our experienced sexual assault survivors attorneys.