An Uber driver in New York is accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl in July after a Sweet 16 party on Long Island, officials said.
Sean Williams, 32, of Brooklyn, was arraigned in a Nassau County court Thursday on charges of kidnapping and sexually motivated kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree unlawful imprisonment, WNBC reported. He was being held in lieu of $150,000, according to the LI Herald.
If convicted, Williams could spend up to 25 years in prison.
The victim, who was not identified, hailed a car July 12 at 11:15 using the ride-sharing app, according to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas. The girl had been at a party in Atlantic Beach and wanted to return to her home in Merrick about 16 miles away, ABC News reported.
According to Singas, Williams began driving toward his Brooklyn home and allegedly tried to convince the girl to go drinking with him, WCBS reported. Prosecutors also said Williams planned to sexually assault the victim.
Once they got to Brooklyn, the teen told Williams she had to use the restroom, Singas told the Herald. Williams pulled over and the girl ran into a McDonald's, where she called police, WNBC reported.
Williams allegedly followed the victim inside the restaurant but left before police arrived, the television station reported. He was arrested at his home four days later.
“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," Singas said in a statement. “The girl was terrorized by the defendant’s alleged behavior and bravely took action to contact police and free herself.”
In a statement, an Uber spokesman said the allegations are "deeply alarming."
"The driver’s access to the app has been removed. We stand ready to cooperate with law enforcement," the spokesman said.
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 cellphone 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.
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