Lawrence Uber driver arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting passenger

An Uber driver accused of accosting and sexually assaulting a female passenger early Saturday morning while driving her between Methuen and Norwood was arrested on charges related to the incident later that day, according to Massachusetts State Police.

Junior Clarke, 31, of Lawrence, faces charges of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, assault and battery, and accosting/annoying a person of the opposite sex, police said.

Uber has banned Clarke from driving for the service, a company spokesperson said.

Police received a report from a family member of a 25-year-old woman, who had said she was being sexually assaulted and accosted by her Uber driver while en route to a friend’s house in Norwood just after 5 a.m. Troopers rushed to the car’s intended destination in Norwood but, upon arriving, found that the driver had just dropped off the victim and left the scene, according to police

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The woman told police that she had ordered the Uber shortly before 5 a.m. When Clarke arrived, she told him she had never used the service before and asked if she should sit in the front or back seat, and he allegedly told her to sit up front.

A few minutes into the trip, Clarke began asking the woman personal questions about her romantic relationships, repeatedly asked her to kiss him, and handed her his phone, telling her to add her SnapChat username to his profile, according to police.

When the victim repeatedly refused to kiss him, Clarke allegedly began touching her inappropriately and making obscene statements. Police said Clarke also grabbed the victim’s arm and pulled her toward him while she turned away from him to avoid his advances.

Clarke ceased the assault and inappropriate behavior toward the victim a few minutes before dropping her off and immediately departed the scene, police said.

When police arrived, the victim was able to provide them with the confirmation number she received after booking the ride and information about his social media accounts, which she saw when Clarke handed her his phone, according to police. Troopers used the information to identify Clarke and went to his home, but did not find him. They later contacted him and told him to come to the Andover Barracks. He complied and was arrested there.

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“No person should have to go through what’s been described,” the Uber spokesperson said in an email statement to Boston.com. “We’ve been in contact with the rider to offer our support and are working with State Police to aid their investigation. The driver has been banned from the platform.”

Clarke is expected to be arraigned in Woburn District Court Thursday.

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