A Newburgh man who drove for Uber is facing rape charges after being accused of raping a woman he picked up for Uber.
Marshall Banks, 28, of Newburgh, was arrested on Friday on charges of rape when a victim is unaware of the defendant's actions, a Level 3 felony; rape when compelled by force or imminent threat of force, a Level 3 felony; and two counts of sexual battery, both Level 6 felonies. According to a probable cause affidavit, a woman accused Banks of raping her as he drove her home from a bar while he was driving for the ride-hailing company, Uber, in December 2018.
The affidavit states that the woman had been drinking at a bar when a friend ordered her an Uber to take her home. According to the report, the friend ensured she got in the Uber safely while two friends went to meet her at her apartment.
The probable cause states that the friends arrived at the apartment, but the woman was not there. The affidavit states that they found her with Banks who identified himself as "Jeremy" before giving them some of the woman's property and leaving.
Then, the affidavit states that's when the woman broke down and told her friends that Banks had
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raped her and covered her mouth during the act. According to the affidavit, the woman told police that her friend helped her into the front seat of the car, but Banks drove her to the wrong apartment building.
The affidavit states that the woman didn't realize at first it was the wrong building. According to the probable cause, she told officers that Banks parked the car and raped her while she told him no.
She told officers that she then tried to go upstairs and get into her apartment, but realized it wasn't her apartment and went back downstairs where she found her friends, according to the affidavit.
Banks told officers that the woman came on to him and acted inappropriately. According to the affidavit, he told officers he never touched her anywhere or with anything that would show up in a sexual assault kit and agreed to give a DNA sample.
However, the affidavit states that test results proved that Banks did have intercourse with the woman that night. The affidavit includes a quote from the lab report which states, "The DNA profile is at least 1 trillion times more likely if it originated from victim 1 and Marshall Banks that [sic] if it originated from victim 1 and an unknown, unrelated individual. This analysis provides very strong support for the proposition that Marshall Banks is a contributor to the DNA profile."
It is unclear whether or not Banks continued to drive for Uber after the incident. Uber did not respond to a request for comment prior to press time.
Last year, Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West announced in a blog post that the ride-hailing company would make "significant improvements" to the company's safety processes including strengthening driver screenings and investing in new technology that can notify the company when a driver is involved in criminal activity. In addition, they added the option to share live trip information with trusted contacts and an emergency button.
The blog post also announced an end to mandatory arbitration for individual claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment by Uber riders, drivers or employees. In the post, West said arbitration wasn't meant as a settlement and didn't have to be confidential, but the company decided it would be best to end the process.
"But we have learned it's important to give sexual assault and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims," he said in the post. "So moving forward, survivors will be free to choose to resolve their individual claims in the venue they prefer: in a mediation where they can choose confidentiality; in arbitration, where they can choose to maintain their privacy while pursuing their case; or in open court. Whatever they decide, they will be free to tell their story wherever and however they see fit."
Uber also noted that they plan to release sexual assault numbers in their 2019 Transparency Report. In the company's Form S-1 Registration Statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in order to take the company public on the U.S. Stock Exchange, the company noted plans to release the report to provide the public with data related to reports of sexual assaults and other safety incidents claimed to have occurred on the platform within the United States.
"The public responses to this transparency report or similar public reporting of safety incidents claimed to have occurred on our platform, which may include disclosure of reports provided to regulators, may result in negative media coverage and increased regulatory scrutiny and could adversely affect our reputation with platform users," the report noted.
The report went on to state that the company expects the information to have a negative impact on the company both fiscally and in the brand name.
"Further unfavorable media coverage and negative publicity could adversely impact our financial results and future prospects. As our platform continues to scale and becomes increasingly interconnected, resulting in increased media coverage and public awareness of our brand, future damage to our brand and reputation could have an amplified effect on our various platform offering," the report stated.
Banks faced his initial hearing on Wednesday, June 3, at 10 a.m. in Vanderburgh County Superior Court 3 after press time.