A New York Uber driver has been indicted after allegedly trying to kidnap a 15-year-old girl whom he was supposed to be driving home.
Sean Williams, a 32-year-old Brooklyn resident, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of kidnapping in the second degree, kidnapping in the second degree as a sexually motivated felony, endangering the welfare of a child, and unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, the Nassau County District Attorney said in a release issued Monday.
Williams is alleged to have picked up the teenage victim from a Sweet 16 party on July 12 at around 11:15 p.m., according to the office. While he was supposed to drive her home to Merrick, authorities say Williams instead tried to persuade the girl to go out drinking with him.
Williams “wanted the 15-year old girl to go to his home in Brooklyn where he intended to sexually assault her,” the DA's office states.
The victim then told Williams her age and repeatedly refused his requests, instead asking him to take her home; despite this, Williams continued to “drive in the wrong direction,” the office states. Once they reached Brooklyn, however, the victim was able to convince Williams that she needed to use the restroom, and when he pulled over, she ran into a nearby McDonald’s restaurant and called the police.
Williams is alleged to have followed the child inside, but he fled the scene before the authorities arrived, the release states. He was arrested outside of his home in Brooklyn on July 16.
Williams, who is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 18, had his bail set at $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash. If convicted of the top count, he could be handed a maximum sentence of 25 years, according to the DA's office.
“The family of a 15-year old girl relied on a car service to get their daughter home safely after she attended a Sweet Sixteen party, but the defendant allegedly kidnapped her and wanted to sexually assault her after giving her alcohol,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “The girl was terrorized by the defendant’s alleged behavior and bravely took action to contact police and free herself.”
Williams’ attorney, Steven Galtman, said in a statement to NBC News that “several factors lend itself to contrast the alleged kidnapping.”
“The alleged victim had her cell phone on her person the entire car ride and at the first opportunity after she made the request to use a bathroom Mr. Williams obliged wherein she entered the McDonald's unaccompanied,” Galtman said.
The alleged victim had "ample opportunity to roll down the window and yell, or open the car door and get out,” Galtman said, according to Fox 6.
Representatives with Uber confirmed to the outlet that Williams was barred from using the ride-sharing app in July, after the accusations became public knowledge.
“What has been reported is deeply alarming and the driver’s access to the app has been removed,” a spokesperson for the company said. “We stand ready to cooperate with law enforcement."
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