List of Uber and Lyft Drivers Accused of Sexual Assault
Sexual violence refers to any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual favor using coercion in any setting. This includes sexual activity when consent is not obtained or freely given, and it also includes words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will.
The spectrum of sexual violence includes all types of unwanted sexual contact, from catcalling to rape. The problem is prevalent all over the world—not just in the U.S.
The WHO reports that internationally, 7% of women have suffered non-partner sexual assault at some point in their lives. Also, more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact.
Young people are the most likely to experience sexual harassment. Stop Street Harassment reports that 57% of female victims and 42% of male victims experienced harassment before the age of 17.
Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. A few examples of sexual harassment include:
- Comments or jokes about sex or private body parts
- Using sex- or gender-related name-calling
- Sharing letters, notes, emails, IMs, or online postings that talk about sex
- Comments about sexuality, sexual development, or gender identity
- Harassing anyone for not conforming to social gender norms
- Touching someone’s private body parts in a sexual way
- Pulling at clothing so that others can see or touch a part of someone else’s body
- Physically blocking someone who is trying to get away from sexual harassment
According to a recent study, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime. The most common form of sexual harassment experienced was verbal, followed by being sexually touched in an unwelcome way.
While harassment may include touching, verbal comments, and other advances that make someone feel uncomfortable, sexual assault is a more severe type of sexual violence. Anyone can be a perpetrator of sexual assault, including strangers, an intimate partner, or someone else the victim knows.
Examples of sexual assault include:
- Child sexual assault and incest
- Assault by a spouse or partner
- Unwanted sexual contact or touching
- Sexual exploitation and trafficking
- Exposing someone’s genitals or naked body to others without consent
- Watching someone engage in private acts without their knowledge or permission
Studies show that nearly one in five women in the United States has experienced rape or attempted rape at some point in their lives. Of those who reported rape, nearly 1 in 3 victims experienced it for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17.
Unfortunately, sexual assault cases involving Uber and Lyft drivers have been in the news almost since the companies’ inception. The issue of sexual assault has become such a problem that both Uber and Lyft have realigned their hiring practices to ensure that only qualified drivers without any record of criminal conduct can enter the system.
In addition to ramping up employee checks, they have enabled safety features within their apps that allow passengers to report when they feel unsafe in a ride-share vehicle.
While these new policies and safety features may help prevent future cases of sexual assault by Uber and Lyft drivers, there is more to be done, namely, identifying the perpetrators.
Below is a list of Uber and Lyft drivers who have been accused of sexual assault, along with the relevant circumstances surrounding each case. In some instances, the drivers have been charged and convicted.
Mahadi Ibrahimi (32), Kent, Washington
Uber driver Mahadi Ibrahimi was arrested and charged with second-degree rape of an unnamed 13-year-old girl during a ride from her father’s to her mother’s home. He had also provided ride-sharing services for Lyft for several months. The authorities have not found any evidence of prior criminal convictions against Ibrahimi.
Dawed Mekonene (30), Las Vegas, Nevada
Dawed Medonene was accused of sexual assault and battery by strangulation to commit sexual assault in Las Vegas after allegedly attempting to rape a female passenger who had fallen asleep in his car during her Uber ride.
The woman said she awoke to find Dawed on top of her, sexually assaulting her in the backseat of his vehicle. He later committed suicide while in jail, awaiting trial.
Mechamed Gayusi (37), Overland Park, Kansas
Mechamed Gayusi was charged with aggravated sexual battery after allegedly forcing himself on a woman who took an Uber home while drunk. She fell asleep and woke up with the driver on top of her. He was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device and can’t drive for Uber or any other ride-sharing company while out on bail.
Unknown Individual, Short North, Ohio
An individual posing as an Uber driver pulled up to a woman who was waiting for her ride outside a bar. He said he was her driver and told her to get in the front seat of the vehicle.
He attempted to grab her and steal her phone, at which point she jumped out of the vehicle. The individual has not yet been caught, but the family has offered a $10,000 reward for his arrest.
Tyrone Craddock (46), Milford, Connecticut
Former Uber driver Tyrone Craddock was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl he met through Uber. He allegedly got her drunk and high on marijuana during an Uber ride before raping her in the car.
Once charges were filed against him, he allegedly stalked the girl twice outside of various nightclubs. On one occasion, he allegedly punched the girl in the face, calling her a snitch.
Leonel Medina (49), Houston, Texas
Leonel Medina, an Uber driver, was charged with sexually assaulting his 15-year-old passenger multiple times after she had called for a ride from her home to a local Family Dollar. He allegedly pulled over into a nearby dead-end street, locked the vehicle, and climbed into the backseat with the girl.
When arrested, he confessed to the crime. Medina had no prior criminal history.
Sonpreet Singh (25), Boston, Massachusetts
Sonpreet Singh was charged with indecent assault and battery on a person older than 14 after allegedly making sexually suggestive comments and groping a woman’s breasts during an Uber ride in Boston.
At the end of the ride, the woman allegedly punched Sonpreet in the face before exiting the vehicle. He has no prior criminal convictions.
Mark A. Taylor (30), Scottsdale, Arizona
Mark A. Taylor was accused of sexual assault after picking up an intoxicated woman at a party. She needed to be carried to the car by her friends when she was picked up. During the ride, Taylor allegedly sexually assaulted her while in the backseat of the vehicle.
Her friends grew concerned when they realized that the Uber trip they had ordered for her had been marked complete at a location close to the party. They decided to investigate and allegedly found Taylor committing the assault.
He left the scene, and the woman’s friends got her home. Afterward, she reported the incident to her mother, who called the police and filed charges.
Mark Saunders (42), Boulder, Colorado
Mark Saunders was found guilty of unlawful sexual contact and second-degree assault following an Uber ride that he provided to an intoxicated woman in the early morning hours. She had allegedly invited him into her house following the ride, at which point the sexual assault occurred.
The woman stated that she did not remember most of the night and realized something had happened through flashbacks. She woke up wearing only a t-shirt with her tampon removed. A male roommate confirmed that she talked about a man in her room and saw him when the woman left the room.
Frederick Q. Amfo (32), Boston, Massachusetts
Frederick Q. Amfo, a driver for Uber, was charged with rape after picking up a woman who requested a ride in the evening. During the drive, Amfo drove to a dark street, where he allegedly raped the woman in his vehicle.
The woman reported the crime after it occurred and filed suit against both Amfo and Uber. Amfo was arrested by local police. After posting bail, he fled back to his home country of Ghana.
Omar Al Naser (32), Beaverton, Oregon
Omar Al Naser, a driver for Lyft, was accused of rape and kidnapping following a ride he gave to a woman leaving a family get-together. Instead of taking the woman home per her instructions, he allegedly took her to his home, where the sexual assault occurred.
He was charged with rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, and kidnapping in the first degree.
Raul E. Rodriguez Vasquez, Washington, D.C.
Raul E. Rodriguez Vasquez was convicted of sexual assault following an incident involving a passenger he transported. The passenger also decided to sue Uber, seeking $10 million in damages as a result of emotional distress. Vasquez is currently in jail, serving a sentence.
Kevyn Rojas (26), Miami, Florida
Kevyn Rojas, a Lyft driver, was arrested after allegedly raping a woman during a Lyft ride. She was intoxicated at the time and told police she had been at a bar with a friend when she decided to leave because she got sick.
Rojas was the assigned driver, but instead of taking the woman back to her hotel, he drove her to a secluded place and sexually assaulted her. She called the police and filed a complaint.
They were able to find surveillance footage that confirmed the assault. Rojas was arrested and charged with sexual battery on a physically helpless victim.
Jorge Tapiacastro (45), Huntington Beach, California
Jorge Tapiacastro was convicted of rape by use of drugs, rape, sexual battery, and false imprisonment after a ride he gave to an intoxicated woman leaving a bar in Huntington Beach, California.
She had asked to be taken back to her home, but when she passed out during the ride, he pulled over and assaulted her while half a mile from her house.
After the rape, the woman got out of the vehicle and the driver left. She contacted her husband, who brought her home. Afterward, he took her to a local hospital for an examination, which produced DNA evidence linking Tapiacastro to the crime. He was convicted.
Sexual Assault and Ride-Sharing
As these unfortunate scenarios demonstrate, sexual assault is a significant problem with ride-share drivers working for Uber and Lyft. Sexual assault perpetrated by drivers has occurred throughout the United States and claimed many victims.
To prevent future occurrences, both Uber and Lyft must make more of an effort to keep their passengers safe during every ride-share trip.