Police Charge Uber Driver with Indecent Assault After Methuen Ride

A Lawrence Uber driver is accused of sexually assaulting and accosting a 25-year old female passenger last weekend during a hired ride from Methuen to Norwood.

Junior Clarke, 31, of Lawrence, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Woburn District Court on charges of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, assault and battery and accosting/annoying a person of the opposite sex, according to a statement Tuesday from Massachusetts State Police. He was released, pending arraignment, on a $40 bail fee. Clarke was taken into custody and booked at the Andover state police barracks following an interview with investigators. Troopers determined the alleged assault occurred while Clarke and the unidentified woman were traveling early Saturday morning within Middlesex County, along Interstates 93 and 95, while en route to Norwood.

“Shortly after 5 a.m., Saturday, July 2, State Police communications received a 911 call from a person who said a family member – a 25-year-old woman – was reporting to her family and a friend that she was a passenger in an Uber vehicle and was being sexually assaulted and accosted by the driver while traveling from Methuen to Norwood,” police said. A ‘Be On the Look Out’ alert was issued for a brown, 2007 Toyota Camry. “State Police determined the victim’s destination in Norwood and rushed to that house, but missed the suspect, who had just dropped off the victim, by just a few minutes.”

The woman was subsequently interviewed by troopers out of Foxboro barracks at the Norwood police station.

“The victim told troopers that she had called the ride service from a friend’s house in Methuen shortly before 5 a.m. and requested that she be driven to another friend’s house in Norwood. The victim stated that when she was picked up, having never used an Uber vehicle before. She asked the driver where she should sit. He told her to sit in the front seat,” the spokesperson said. “Several minutes into the ride, the driver allegedly began asking the victim personal questions about relationships, and then repeatedly asked her to kiss him, which she continually refused to do.” At one point during the ride the driver asked the victim to “friend request” him on the social media application SnapChat, and handed her his phone to do so, State Police said.

“The victim stated that after his unsuccessful requests to kiss her, the driver allegedly began touching her inappropriately and making obscene and sexually-themed statements and, at one point, grabbed her arm and pulled it toward her body. Throughout the assault the victim turned her body away from the driver in an attempt to impede his ability to touch her. According to the victim, the assaultive and accosting behavior ceased several minutes before the driver dropped her off at her destination in Norwood; the driver immediately drove away,” the spokesperson added.

She was also able to provide information about Clarke from the Uber confirmation she received when she booked the ride and from social media accounts belonging to him, which she had been able to see when he handed her his phone. She told troopers she was in fear for her safety throughout the ride.