New York Uber driver allegedly kidnapped 15-year-old girl, planned to sexually assault her
A New York Uber driver has been charged with kidnapping a 15-year-old girl who he allegedly planned to sexually assault, according to prosecutors.
Sean Williams, 32, picked up the young girl at around 11:15 p.m. on July 12, court documents state. She was attending a Sweet Sixteen birthday party in Atlantic Beach, on Long Island, and her parents called the ride so she could get back to their home in Merrick, N.Y.
Williams canceled the ride shortly after pickup and allegedly tried convincing the girl to go out drinking with him. In reality, he intended to take the girl back to his apartment and sexually assault her, prosecutors say.
"The family of a 15-year old girl relied on a car service to get their daughter home safely after she attended a Sweet 16 party, but the defendant allegedly kidnapped her and wanted to sexually assault her after giving her alcohol," Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a press release.
The girl warned Williams of her age, but he continued driving her toward his apartment in Brooklyn. She ultimately escaped after asking to use the bathroom, then running into a McDonald's when Williams stopped the car. From there, she called the police.
"The girl was terrorized by the defendant’s alleged behavior and bravely took action to contact police and free herself," Singas said.
Williams, who was arrested a few days after the incident, was arraigned on Monday. He's charged with kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful imprisonment.
Uber said the allegations are "deeply alarming" and that it has removed Williams' access to the app, according to TODAY. The ride-sharing company also issued a reminder that its users must be 18 years or older. Under the company's current policy, minors can only ride in an Uber if they are accompanied by an adult.
Williams denies the allegations. His attorney Steven Gaitman, told ABC News that the girl had "ample opportunity" to escape the situation.
"I don't think this lends itself to a kidnapping. I think there's another side of the story," Gaitman said.
Williams will return to court on Sept. 18, where he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years.