[By MITCHELL BYARS]
An Uber driver was arrested Thursday for reportedly sexually assaulting a woman he drove home last February.
Mark Saunders, 41, was booked into custody at the Boulder County Jail on suspicion of sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact.
He had his bond set at $10,000 and is scheduled for a formal filing of charges on Tuesday, according to online records.
According to an arrest affidavit, a woman called Boulder police on Feb. 15, 2018, and said she believed she had been sexually assaulted. The woman told police she had been out drinking with a friend the previous night before calling an Uber driver — later identified by phone records as Saunders — to pick her up.
The woman said she did not remember most of the night except for flashes of Saunders being on top of her. She then woke up the next morning wearing only a T-shirt, and also told police her tampon had been removed.
Police took the woman to get a sexual assault examination, which found the presence of male DNA, according to the affidavit.
The woman’s roommate told police he remembers the woman came into his room that night “very out of it,” and talking about a man in her room. When the roommate went out, he saw a man matching Saunders’ description in the home.
Phone records show Saunders was the Uber driver assigned to the woman, and she also had a text from his number.
In subsequent text messages between the woman and Saunders monitored by police, Saunders said the woman invited him in but they didn’t “have intercourse or anything. We just made out and you got naked.” Saunders also wrote he realized the woman was intoxicated, “but I didn’t realize you were that intoxicated.”
Police tried to contact Saunders for an interview and a DNA sample, but he never responded.
But according to the affidavit, the DNA from the exam matched a sample Saunders had given to police in Florida following his arrest there in a case that was later dismissed.
Anyone with information on this case or who believes they may have been a victim in a similar incident is asked to contact Boulder police Detective Kara Wills at 303-441-3482.
Saunders is the second ride-share driver to be arrested by Boulder police in the past month after a Lyft driver was accused of raping a Boulder woman in 2018.
Both ride-share companies have been under fire for the subject of concerns surrounding female passengers, with Uber saying it had more than 3,000 reported cases of sexual assault during its rides in 2018 in the U.S.