Woman suing Uber for negligence in 2014 rape speaks out

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A woman who said she was raped by an Uber driver and is suing the ride-share company spoke out for the first time. (KABC)

A woman who said she was raped by an Uber driver and is suing the ride-share company spoke out for the first time.

Keather Taylor requested an Uber in 2014 after spending the day out drinking with friends. She said she remembers drinking a bottle of water offered by the driver.

"The next thing I remember is waking up...in my bed, on top of my sheets and I was completely nude," she said.

Taylor became disoriented and confused. She said she found a condom on her nightstand and called police to report being raped.

Her driver, Walter Ponce, pleaded no contest to sexual battery in 2015 in the case and was ordered to register as a sex offender.

Now Taylor is suing the ride-share company for negligence and filed the complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.

In the lawsuit, she claims "Uber introduced her to her rapist - her Uber driver, a man who had been disguised through Uber's marketing as someone she could trust with her life."

But Ponce had no criminal history when he applied to become an Uber driver.

Taylor and her attorneys want Uber to impose mandatory finger printing, which they believe would deter potential criminals from trying to become Uber drivers.

They also want an alert button added to the app for riders to signal if they're in distress and for it to offer constant GPS monitoring, especially if the driver lingers too long at a pick-up or drop-off point.

"Step into the mindset of a predator - they're looking at a business that says, 'Hey, sign up with us. You get to take young girls coming out of the bar, coming out of the club who are drunk, and you get to drive them home.' To a predator - jackpot," attorney Antonio Castillo III said.

Uber did not respond to Eyewitness News requests for comment on the lawsuit. But on the company's website, it says it is "dedicated to keeping people safe...and every driver must undergo a pre-screeing process."

"I'm hoping to accomplish this never happening to another person," Taylor said.

Taylor is seeking compensation and punitive damages in the case that her attorneys say could total in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

They believe it will be a year or two before the case goes to trial.
Related Topics:
newsuberlawsuitrapesexual assaultsex crimeLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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