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Uber driver charged with sexually attacking female rider

A ride from Methuen to Norwood early on July 2 turned into a nightmare for a first-time Uber rider who had to fend off inappropriate questions that turned into groping, State Police charge.

State Police say a woman arranged for a ride around 5 a.m. to take her to a friend's house in Norwood:

The victim stated that when she was picked up, having never used an Uber vehicle before, she asked the driver where she should sit; he told her to sit in the front seat. The route the vehicle took was along Routes 93 and 95. Several minutes into the ride, the driver allegedly began asking the victim personal questions about relationships, and then repeatedly asked her to kiss him, which she continually refused to do. At one point during the ride the driver asked the victim to “friend request” him on the social media application SnapChat, and handed her his phone to do so.

The victim stated that after his unsuccessful requests to kiss her, the driver allegedly began touching her inappropriately and making obscene and sexually-themed statements, and at one point grabbed her arm and pulled it toward her body. Throughout the assault the victim turned her body away from the driver in an attempt to impede his ability to touch her. According to the victim, the assaultive and accosting behavior ceased several minutes before the driver dropped her off at her destination in Norwood; the driver immediately drove away.

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

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

JUNIOR CLARKE?? Come on. Is that his real name??

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But this guy gets to drive? Way to pick 'em, Uber.

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You also got deactivated because you were too lazy to pick up passengers or turn up a radio for them when you did. How should they determine who is going to be a driver who attacks someone? What was this guy's score?

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What makes you think I did either of those things? What the (expletive) does "too lazy to pick up passengers" even mean? If you don't feel like picking up passengers, you go offline, which you can do at any moment you want if you don't have a passenger in your car.

I don't know how you spot drivers who will grope women, but maybe seek character references for prospective drivers. The worst ones will get ratted out somehow if you ask their references straight up "is this guy a creeper around women?"

I don't know his rating, it wasn't in the story.

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Any more backstory to this? I ride uberX a lot and it would be interesting to know why they de-activated someone w/ a 4.8 ranking!

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Of "almost hitting three cars" on a trip. First, what does that even mean? I "almost hit a car" every time I stop behind one at a red light, but the brakes stop that from happening.

Second, it's my word against theirs. Uber took theirs.

Third, I think the real reason is that I didn't participate in UberPOOL. Uber can't kick a driver off for that reason, so they were probably just waiting for one that would stick better.

Good riddance to bad rubbish. I even told them straight up "I'll get a better job, and you won't get a better driver." Jury's out on my current job, but I'm absolutely right on the latter. Uber deserves every headache it gets.

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UberPool is a disaster - it screws the drives and passengers and makes everybody mad. It's clear that Uber is using Pool as a means of (a) going downmarket and (b) using drivers and passengers as live test cases for their future automated routing and scheduling software that will go into the autonomous car fleets of the future.

Because of Pool and other things I switched to Fasten in Boston but UberX is still essential in other cities for me

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Has the Fasten app started working yet? Last three times I've tried them, the app doesn't port the address correctly, and their drivers who barely speak English and have zero awareness of the city have gone in loops (including a memorable trip through the Callahan three times) and refuse to take directions from us, in the back seat.

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I've successfully used Fasten once. The driver was nice, and did speak English, and happily took directions from me when I suggested a slightly better route than his GPS had.

On the other hand, I tried to use it a couple of nights ago, and the app kept crashing when I tried to enter my address. I wound up having to use Lyft.

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Wow. That's at worst scary, especially if you're ending up in Eastie against your wishes.

I mean, you get what you pay for, but this driver sucks.

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No actually you didn't go offline, you were hailed by Uberpool and were too lazy to pick up the passengers. If you went offline then they wouldn't notice how lazy you are.

You don't know what almost hitting a car means? So there's no difference between slowly coming to a stop and slamming on brakes at the last second to avoid an accident? Or when someone changes lanes and you have to swerve or break not to crash into them is the same as your average lane change? No wonder you aren't hired as a driver.

You are so mad Uber sided with them but you so quickly believe this guy groped this woman. Maybe ya almost hit three cars. Maybe you offered such bad customer service, they made it up.

Removing you helps their business a lot. If every driver just skipped out on pools, they wouldn't have had a business to hire you in the first place and people would flock to competition who weeds out the lazies. And God forbid if businesses ran a character check on you before hiring.

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I didn't refuse to pick up second UberPOOL pings on the same trip because I'm "lazy," I refused because I wasn't willing to assume the liability of a male passenger accosting a female passenger, or the responsibility of policing conflicts between strangers.

POOL is a massive ripoff financially for the driver. Like almost everything Uber does, it favors Uber and it favors the passenger. Very little, if anything, Uber does is in favor of the driver. They just don't care. That's how they end up with groping accusations. And that's not the first anecdote I've heard of a driver not knowing how to conduct himself around female customers. I'm sure it won't be the last, because their pool is down to immigrants and people who haven't learned yet that this isn't employment. Boston's a small town, and that number is dwindling fast. But hey, cheap rides!

Uber's been a great lesson for both passengers and drivers regarding what cars and trips in them cost. I ask UberX passengers this: Medallion cabs charge 50% more than your UberX ride. How many cabbies do you know who work fewer than 50 hours a week and live comfortably? Not many? Well, what do you think are the finances of a guy making 50% less in fares than that?

Great thing about capitalism and markets is that I can refuse to do a job that pays too little for the burden of the work. What part of "I'll get a better job" did you not understand? I'm not rich, but I'm getting $15 an hour without risking my personal vehicle, enduring liability with Uber's farcical insurance, or dealing with undesirables.

Only thing rideshare is good for as a driver is if you're, say, heading into town on a weekend night to eat and drink, and you get a ping from somebody with the same idea going the same way. Get them to pay for your drive. It's not employment income, that's for sure, and shouldn't be treated as such.

Fair enough that I don't know that the driver actually did these things, but if he didn't, I'd like to see him vehemently deny them. I'm sure WHDH would be more than happy to put him on television if he wants to go on and proclaim his innocence, unless his lawyer has advised him not to do so.

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The problem with cabbie income is that the medallion owners take much of the money.

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I don't shed a single tear for them. You have to be a truly atrocious businessperson to get the government to hand you a monopoly, and then screw it up so badly that the government stops protecting your monopoly by simply shrugging its shoulders at the exploitation of a perceived gray area.

I knew medallion owners were done with their standard of living the very moment the East Boston city councillor stood up at that City Hall hearing and said "I've had fights with cabbies about being taken back to East Boston late at night." Maybe not bite the hand that feeds you, idiots.

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