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Uber driver accused of raping an unconscious 17-year-old girl

The news comes less than a week after the company settled two high-profile sexual assault cases.
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REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

An Uber driver in Southern California was charged Thursday with four felony counts of sexual assault for allegedly raping an unconscious 17-year-old girl as he drove her home to Laguna Beach early Saturday morning. The suspect, 23-year-old Samer Alaaeldin Mahran, is currently being held on $100,000 bail and could face a maximum sentence of up to 28 years in prison if convicted.

According to police in Orange County, one of the girl's family members called her an Uber from Huntington Beach around 2 a.m. Saturday morning. When the girl did not arrive on time, her relative began to worry. Using Uber's tracking feature, another family member located Mahran's vehicle parked near the victim's home and found Mahran assaulting the unconscious girl in the backseat. Mahran is also accused of fleeing the scene as the family member tried to help the victim out of his vehicle, but Laguna Beach Police were able to identify him based on the info stored in Uber and he was arrested at home later that day.

For their part, Uber told CNET via email, "We're devastated by what this family has gone through and our hearts are with them. We'll continue working with police to support the investigation and proceedings. The individual has been permanently barred from the app."

Earlier this month, Uber settled with two victims who were also assaulted by drivers using their platform. While those cases renewed criticisms of Uber's background check process, a document leaked earlier this year showed that Uber is also dealing with a number of sexual assault cases outside of the US.

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