Uber Driver Jailed in U.K. for Assaulting Woman in Car

  • Passenger accused 42-year-old driver of groping her in May
  • Company faces calls for more regulation to protect customers

An Uber Technologies Inc. driver was jailed for 18 months after being convicted of sexually assaulting a young woman who used the ride-sharing service in London.

Aliriza Kurt, 42, was sentenced at a London court Wednesday, police said in a statement. His 24-year-old victim was groped after getting into car at Brixton Underground Station in May 2015.

Uber has faced calls for its drivers to be regulated in order to protect customers as the service spreads into cities around the world, taking fares away from licensed cabs. A woman sued the company in the U.S. for having inadequate safeguards, saying she was raped by a driver in India. She dropped the case in September. In March Uber suspended a driver in France who was accused of sexually assaulting a passenger.

Alex Belardinelli, a spokesman for Uber, said the company welcomes the conviction of Kurt.

“As soon as we learned about this shocking incident we immediately stopped this licensed private hire driver from using the Uber app and offered our full assistance to both the police and the passenger,” Belardinelli said in an e-mail.

Siwan Hayward, director of enforcement at Transport for London, said “this victim’s bravery in reporting this offense to the police has helped put this sex offender behind bars, preventing him from preying on any other vulnerable women.”

Kurt also had his vehicle seized and was banned from working as a private hire driver or being in a car with any women outside his family.

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