A Boston man who works as a driver for the Uber rideshare service now faces charges after he allegedly beat, strangled and sexually assaulted a young Cambridge woman he picked up earlier this month.
Investigators said it was not clear if Alejandro Done, 46, used the information obtained in his capacity as an independent contractor employed by Uber to carry out his alleged attack. A company spokesperson confirmed Done was an Uber driver but that he was not on call when he allegedly picked up the victim. Done passed an employment background check, according to the spokesperson.
The victim told police Done picked her up outside of a Tremont Street residence in Boston around 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, where she was waiting for an ordered Uber car. A statement from the Middlesex District Attorney’s office said the company was cooperating with their investigation.
Done reportedly told her he needed cash for the ride — outside of normal Uber protocols, which require credit card payments — and drove her to an ATM. After the victim returned to the car, authorities said Done drove to a secluded area, where he got in the backseat with the woman and attacked her.
The victim told police Done struck her with his hands, strangled her, locked her inside the vehicle, and covered her mouth. Done sexually assaulted her during the struggle, authorities said.
“This is a despicable crime and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim during her recovery,’’ Uber spokesperson Kaitlin Durkosh wrote in a statement to Boston.com. “Uber has been working closely with law enforcement and will continue to do everything we can to assist their investigation.’’
Done was arraigned on charges of rape, assault to rape, kidnapping and two counts of assault and battery, according to a statement from the Middlesex District Attorney’s office. He was held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing later this month.
It’s not clear if the attacks were related to a string of similar sex assaults reported by rideshare customers last weekend. Those remain under investigation by Boston Police.
“While these services are a convenience, and often a necessity of modern urban living, we urge everyone to take precautions to ensure they are as safe as possible,’’ District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement. “Confirm that the car you are getting into is the particular one you have ordered. Be cautious if the driver is asking you to do something that you understand to be against company policy, as when they request you pay by cash when you understand that the company receives payment by credit card.’’
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referred to Done as an Uber employee. The company classifies its drivers as independent contractors.