Seattle Uber driver claims customer sexually assaulted her; Uber responds

SEATTLE — A Seattle Uber driver says a customer sexually assaulted her.

She spoke out on Monday and says rideshare companies need to do more to protect drivers - especially women - who often drive drunken passengers home.

From the beginning of the ride on Nov. 27, Uber driver Maggie Young says her intuition told her this customer would be trouble.

"About where we crossed the bridge is where it happened," said Young driving her car on Interstate 5.

First, she claims he was drunk and refusing to put on his seat belt.

His friend had requested an Uber ride on his behalf from a bar, according to a Seattle police report.

But then a few minutes into the ride, Young says "he lunges up, grabs me right here and just starts kissing neck and my cheek here. So I kind of had to do like that but I really couldn't fight him off."

Young claims the man kept telling her he was going to have sex with her before passing out.

Panicked, she headed for a public place: the Fred Meyer in Greenwood.

"I did this. I stopped. I parked and I got out. Right here so everyone could see him," she said.

She snapped a picture of the man being arrested.

Kevin Mitchell was charged with assault and harassment with sexual motivation - a misdemeanor.

Young believes the case is still open.

KIRO 7 called the 33-year-old at his work on Monday night. He said he had “no comment” on the allegations.

Young says she's speaking out for female rideshare drivers who face constant sexual harassment, fearing if they react it'll affect their job.

"Even when they ask you out in the beginning of the ride and you say 'no' you're constantly worried, is that going to affect my rating?"

Drivers can deny service, but they risk having a bad customer rating and even losing their job.

Uber spokeswoman Kayla Whaling released the following statement:

"We are committed to the safety and security of both drivers and riders. We don't tolerate this type of behavior and will not hesitate to permanently remove someone's access to Uber. We reached out to Maggie as soon as we were made aware of this incident and pulled information from the trip so we could take the appropriate actions as well as provide any information to Seattle Police for investigative purposes."

Whaling told KIRO 7 the suspect in this case can no longer use any Uber services.