A Frederick man who drives for Uber was charged with sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl he picked up, according to county sheriff’s deputies.
Nevard Renardo Sanderson, 28, of the first block of Waverley Drive, was charged with two counts of third-degree sex offense in an arrest warrant issued Oct. 12, according to court records. He was taken into custody Tuesday and remained in the Frederick County Adult Detention Center on Wednesday on $20,000 bail, of which he was required to pay 10 percent, the records state.
Sanderson initially denied knowing the girl when deputies interviewed him at his apartment Oct. 3, according to charging documents. He eventually admitted having sex with the girl after detectives showed him a series of text messages sent to the girl’s phone from his number.
Sanderson told police that he picked the girl up as she was walking along Md. 26 at about 2 a.m. Sept. 25 after dropping off an Uber client in the area. Sanderson also said that the girl told him she was 18 and that she came on to him, the documents state.
This account differed markedly from the version of events related by the girl when she spoke with detectives at Frederick Memorial Hospital at 5:30 a.m. Sept. 26.
The girl told the detectives she snuck out of her house to take a walk at about 2 a.m. Sept. 25 and was on her way home when Sanderson pulled up in a black Chrysler 300 and offered her a ride. The girl initially turned him down, but she changed her mind when he asked her a second time, the documents state.
The girl told police she pushed Sanderson away when he tried to kiss her while stopped at a red light, but she said she got scared and complied when he coaxed her into a sex act, according to the charging documents.
Sanderson dropped the girl off near her home after exchanging phone numbers with her and promising to get her an emergency contraceptive kit the next day, according to the girl’s statements to police in charging documents.
Detectives identified Sanderson using his phone number and text messages on the girl’s phone, the documents state.
Sanderson specifically told detectives that the girl was not an Uber customer and that he picked her up on his own after dropping off a client, according to the charging documents. Sanderson has since been banned from using the Uber app, said Susan Hendrick, a company spokeswoman.
“I can confirm that this individual has used the app in the past, I can also tell you that this person has been banned from using Uber, meaning he cannot provide any more trips,” Hendrick said when reached for comment Wednesday.
“As soon as we were made aware of this incident the individual’s access to the app was removed,” Hendrick said, adding that Uber drivers work as independent contractors, not employees.
All Uber drivers are subject to screenings and background checks in accordance with an individual state’s laws before entering into a contract with the company, Hendrick said. Sanderson did not have any prior criminal arrests in an online search of Maryland court records Wednesday.
A preliminary hearing in Sanderson’s case was scheduled to take place Nov. 2 in Frederick County District Court, according to online court records.