On April 28, 2020, Lyft driver Gebrehiwot G. Gebriye, 27, of Salt Lake City, was arrested and charged after he inappropriately touched a female passenger on February 17, 2020. Officially, he was charged in 3rd District Court with forcible sexual abuse—which is a second-degree felony.
On February 17, the woman was picked up by Gebriye from a bar in Salt Lake City. According to charging documents, she sat in the front seat and he proceeded to put his hand on her neck in an attempt to pull her closer to him. After she refused the advances, she claimed he inappropriately touched her.
Ever since the attack, police had been searching for Gebriye. It was assumed by Salt Lake police that he had left the county. He was apprehended after arriving at Salt Lake City International Airport.
Unfortunately, this incident only marks the latest in a series of alleged sexual assaults by rideshare drivers in Utah and around the rest of the country.
In September 2019, a Utah woman joined 13 others from a total of seven states to file a lawsuit against Lyft, claiming they were sexually assaulted by their drivers. According to the lawsuit, Lyft does not conduct proper background checks on drivers and has failed to take the necessary steps to protect the safety of passengers. The lawsuit also estimates that between 2014 and 2019, Lyft received 100 sexual assault complaints against drivers just in California.
In addition to the two incidents discussed above, a Lyft driver was charged in the 2nd district Court in November 2019 with forcible sexual abuse for inappropriately touching a woman he picked up from a Salt Lake City bar and drove to Centerville.
While companies like Uber and Lyft have implemented safety features in an attempt to discourage or prevent instances of sexual assault, the technology has not significantly impacted the actual number of assaults that have happened across the country.
For rideshare passengers that are assaulted by drivers, legal action is available. It’s often a confusing time for a victim of sexual assault, which is why having strong legal representation is imperative. Not only do victims have the right to seek compensation for their suffering, but filing a claim sends a clear message to the attacker that their actions were deplorable and should never be repeated.
To learn more about the benefits of seeking legal representation after an assault from a rideshare driver, contact us today.