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By Miriam Raftery

November 15, 2017 (El Cajon) – An El Cajon judge has sentenced John David Sanchez, a former Uber driver, to over 80 years in prison after Sanchez pled guilty to 34 counts of raping or sexually assaulting nine unconscious women and teenage girls as young as 13.  Superior Court Judge Evan Kirvin called Sanchez a sexual predator.

But according to a law firm specializing in sexual assaults committed by ride-share drivers including Uber and Lyft, such crimes are far from rare. 

Statistics show that over 6000 Uber customer support tickets mention sexual assault,” says says Mike Bomberger of Estey & Bomberger, a law firm specializing in sexual assault cases. A press release states, “ A former Uber employee searched the company's internal customer service platform for messages over a three-year period and found that 6000 customer support tickets included the term sexual assault.”

The charges against Sanchez stemmed from a woman passenger who became ill after drinking accused the Uber driver of assaulting her in El Cajon. That report led to an investigation that turned up more crimes.

According to prosecutors, Sanchez lured high school girls to his home in San Diego, where he plied them with drugs, alcohol or both. After they passed out, he raped them and videotaped the crimes.  El Cajon Police found videos at his home which the District Attorney used to identify victims, including some who didn’t know they had been sexually assaulted.

Bomberger praised the efforts by San Diego’s District Attorney, stating, “It is well known that sexual predators usually commit multiple crimes before they are caught, because victims are often frightened and ashamed to come forward. We believe that if other District Attorneys offices did this type of thorough investigation, there would be far more convictions of Uber drivers, and far fewer incidents of sexual assault by Uber drivers.

He called on Uber to do more to prevent sexual assaults, such as conducting better background checks on drivers and doing their own investigations similar to what the San Diego D.A. has done, as well as requiring cameras be installed in vehicles to help prevent such attacks.

ECM has asked Uber for comment. 

If you hail a ride through a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft, here are some tips to reduce your risk:  travel with a companion whenever possible.  Always sit in the back seat.  Don’t engage the driver in any flirtatious behavior, and don’t linger after your ride. 

For a list of all Uber and Lyft-related sexual assaults in the U.S., visit https://www.ebtrialattorneys.com/raped-uber-lyft-driver.

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