Uber driver charged with sexual assault

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Alexander Marrero / Chicago Police

An Uber driver was charged with sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman he was hired to drive home last month.

The woman didn’t remember getting into Alexander Marrero’s red Hyundai while she was out with her family and friends on Division Street in the early morning hours of June 26.

But when she woke up during the ride to her apartment elsewhere in the city, her shorts and underwear had been pulled down, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Elena Gottreich said.

Marrero, 35, had reached back and assaulted her from the driver’s seat, prosecutors said.

The 23-year-old woman had been stumbling when her stepsister and cousin placed her in the back of Marrero’s car, Gottreich said.

Gottreich then outlined this sequence of events:

Given the woman’s condition, the cousin had used an app to request a ride from Uber, a ride-hailing service. The cousin then called the woman’s roommate and asked that she be outside when she arrived. The cousin also sent a picture of the Hyundai and the car’s license plate to the roommate.

A short time later, the roommate, 24, saw the Hyundai down the street.

When no one got in or out, the roommate walked over to the sedan. The car had tinted windows, so the roommate knocked on the front passenger window. She could hear someone crying inside and could make out that the driver was turned toward the center of the Hyundai, Gottreich said.

No one responded to the taps on the window and the car drove away instead, and the roommate saw the car go around the corner.

Marrero returned several minutes later and told the roommate that he was her friend’s Uber driver. Marrero had to “support” the woman as they walked toward the roommate. When they were alone inside, the woman complained about pain and told her what had happened.

The woman was later taken to a hospital and the roommate identified Marrero, of the 500 block of North Troy, in a photo array, Gottreich said.

The Hyundai Marrero was using for Uber was registered to his wife, Gottreich said.

Uber officials said Marrero no longer drives for the ride-sharing service.

“What’s been described is deplorable and something no one should ever go through,” Uber spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.

“We’re working with local authorities to support their investigation and proceedings in any way possible,” she said. “The individual has been permanently banned from the app.”

Marrero had been arrested previously for several misdemeanors, including solicitation of an unlawful business, marijuana possession, and domestic battery, and he was convicted of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, according to court records.

Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered Marrero held in lieu of $150,000 bail for criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping.

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