Nineteen more women have come forward saying they were sexually harassed, abused or raped by Lyft drivers in incidents that took place all over the country — including three in the Big Apple — spanning from 2017 to as recently as October, according to a new lawsuit.
Three of the women claim they were raped while the others variously say their drivers exposed themselves, masturbated in the cars, and groped or sexually assaulted them, according to the new court papers filed in San Francisco Superior Court.
The suit, filed Wednesday, comes on the heels of a Sept. 5 lawsuit filed against the ride-sharing app by 14 women who claim their drivers sexually assaulted them in 2018 and 2019.
Lyft has known about the epidemic of sexual assault by its drivers since 2015 but has chosen to conceal the scope of it — including thousands of victims — from the public, stonewalled police investigations and has failed to implement measures to stop it from happening in the future, the court papers allege.
The company in many cases has allowed the offending drivers to continue working for them and it doesn’t properly investigate the incidents or screen and background check potential drivers, the court documents claim.
“LYFT’s response to this sexual predator crisis amongst LYFT drivers has been appallingly inadequate,” the suit charges. “Instead of taking a few basic and simple measures to prevent rapes and sexual assault of their passengers, LYFT … has chosen to hide and conceal from the United States public the staggering number of reported rapes and sexual assaults that occur within their vehicles.”
The new case claims that three of the incidents took place in New York City and one more in Newark.
A 22-year-old Brooklyn woman — identified in court papers as Jane Roe 10 — took a Lyft on Oct. 16 to pick up food when her driver allegedly asked her to perform oral sex and then took out his penis and showed her a photo of another woman on his phone saying he wanted to have a threesome with them. He then touched and licked her breasts, the court papers claim.
“I was scared. I was in shock because he was kind of aggressive,” after she texted her friend, Jane Roe 10 told The Post. “There was nothing I could do.”
The man was charged with forcible touching, sexual abuse and harassment, the suit says.
“Ever since it happened I haven’t been getting any sleep. Of course, I’m scared because this guy knows where I live,” she said.
The woman, a makeup artist, said she hasn’t been working much since the incident.
“I am very shaky when I do my clients’ makeup. I get shaky and emotional, and I’m not able to complete the job,” she said.
Another woman identified as Jane Roe 8 said she was taking a Lyft from Brooklyn to Manhattan for an interview on Sept. 6 when she noticed her driver was masturbating, the suit says. She immediately asked him to pull over then got out of the car and reported it to the police and the app, the court papers say.
Georgia woman Jane Roe 7 was traveling in New York City when she used Lyft on June 23 when her driver allegedly started to proposition her. He then pulled over, climbed in the back seat and tried to grope and rape her, but the woman was able to fight him off, the court papers say.
Ingrid Ferreira says she hired a ride in Newark on her way home from work on Sept. 25. When they arrived near her home she realized the child locks were on and she couldn’t get out of the car. The driver then turned toward her with his penis out but she immediately called her husband prompting the driver to back off, let her out of the car before speeding away, the court papers allege.
There are many protocols that the company could implement to make riding safer such as using the app to record video of every ride, using fingerprint background checks and implementing sexual harassment training, the suit says.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer Michael Bomberger told The Post the assaults are “a dirty secret that they [Lyft] have been holding onto for years.”
“I think that the executives at Lyft are tone deaf to what is happening here. They clearly don’t understand the ramifications of these assaults,” Bomberger said. “Their app and platform are tailor-made for predators and that’s because there is no true accountability.”
The women are suing for unspecified damages.
“What these women describe is something no one should ever have to endure. Everyone deserves the ability to move about the world safely, yet women still face disproportionate risks,” a spokesperson for Lyft said in a lengthy statement. “We recognize these risks, which is why we are relentless in our work to build safety into every aspect of our work. That means continually investing in new features and policies to protect our riders and drivers.”
The company said that it has “launched more than 15 new safety features” including daily background checks for all drivers, in-app emergency assistance and the requirement that all ratings that are less than four stars must be explained in feedback. Lyft says they have paired up with a anti-sexual violence group to work on creating mandatory education for drivers.
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