PHOENIX - An Uber driver is facing sexual assault and kidnapping charges after he allegedly raped a drunken passenger after picking her up in Scottsdale, court documents say.
Police say the woman had been out with some of her friends in Old Town Scottsdale when she became overly intoxicated at an afterparty in an Airbnb. According to documents, one of her friends called her an Uber to take her home. He met the driver, identified as Mark Taylor, who confirmed he would be driving her.
The friend said he checked the Uber app a few minutes later and saw Taylor was circling nearby neighborhoods until he parked near a canal at an address that was different than the victim's residence. He ran to Taylor's location and found the driver on top of the victim with both of their pants off, and he appeared to be sexually assaulting her. The friend had to slam his fist on the locked car door to get Taylor's attention and make him stop.
The victim, who was still confused and drunk, was taken home by her friends, and Taylor was reported to Scottsdale Police.
Police later took the driver into custody, acknowledging he had "made a mistake," court documents say. Taylor argued she had made "sexual contact" by touching his arm and his side, but admitted that she was extremely drunk and saw that she had to be carried out from the party into the Uber.
Ultimately, the victim's friends arrived in time to take her home. They tell police Taylor said "thanks for showing me mercy" before driving off.
Taylor has been booked into jail on one count of sexual assault and another count of kidnapping. His bond is set at $100,000.
Jenna Panas, CEO of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, says there have been at least 12,000 reports of rape from 2016 to 2019 in Arizona.
"That's just the tip of the iceberg as most rapes aren't reported, and so, we're estimating anywhere from approximately 35% of rapes are reported," said Panas.
As the investigation continues, officials with the rideshare firm issued a statement that reads:
"What’s been reported is sickening and our thoughts are with the rider during this difficult time. We immediately deactivated the driver and stand ready to work with law enforcement."