In a shocking development reported by New Jersey 101.5, a driver for the popular ride-sharing service Uber has been charged with criminal sexual contact in connection with an alleged incident during a ride over the weekend. Ronald Yaniak, 56, of Little Egg Harbor Township, was arrested and charged on Sunday following an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.
According to authorities, the alleged victim and three fellow passengers called for an Uber ride from Barnegat to Tuckerton on March 4. The alleged victim was sitting in the vehicle's front passenger seat when the incident occurred. After receiving a 911 call from the female, Yaniak was identified as the driver and was subsequently charged.
Yaniak has been released on a summons pending a future court appearance. Following the incident, Uber has removed Yaniak from their platform. In response to the incident, an Uber spokesperson stated, "We take reports of sexual misconduct extremely seriously, and this driver’s described actions are disturbing. He no longer has access to the Uber platform, and we are standing by to assist police on their investigation.” Uber has invested heavily in technology and features designed to enhance the platform's safety.
Attorney contributor and experienced Uber sexual abuse lawyer Brian Kent, helps victims in civil actions against sexual predators and negligent third parties. The following information about the legal rights of victims sexually assaulted by an Uber driver was provided by Kent.
"Uber has a responsibility to provide protective measures to ensure the safety of its passengers. This includes providing a safe environment free of sexual abuse or misconduct. Legally, Uber has a duty of care to passengers, which includes a responsibility to provide reasonable measures to protect passengers from foreseeable risks and dangers."
"If an Uber driver is found to have sexually abused a passenger, the victim may have a legal right to bring a civil action against Uber. Depending on the case's particular facts, the victim may be able to bring a claim based on the platform's negligence. In a negligence claim, the victim would need to prove that Uber breached the duty of care owed to the passenger and that this breach was the cause of injury. This could include that Uber failed to do a background check on the driver or ensure that proper safety measures were utilized."
"Victims should consult with an experienced Uber sex abuse lawyer to ensure they are aware of their available rights. Compensation may be awarded in cases of negligence."