A social studies teacher who doubled up as an Uber driver is accused of kidnapping and raping a female passenger on the side of the road in South Carolina. Thirty-nine-year-old Patrick Aiello was denied bail and is being held at the Al Cannon Detention Center on charges of kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct, the Post and Courier reported.
According to the criminal affidavit, Aiello picked up a female passenger and her male friend on 9 August and dropped off the male passenger at his home. The female passenger also exited the vehicle but was intoxicated and asked Aiello if he could drop her off a few streets away so she would not have to walk in the dark.
Instead Aiello drove the 23-year-old around but not to her destination. After the woman realised she was not near her home, Aiello allegedly told her she needed to pay him in sexual favours.
The affidavit stated the woman told authorities she offered the Uber driver money and asked to be let out of the vehicle several times. Aiello allegedly yelled at her and told her she would have to pay with sex. He then parked the vehicle off Savannah Highway, where he attacked and sexually assaulted her.
Aiello then kicked his victim out of the vehicle. The victim ran out onto the highway to get help and was hit by another vehicle.
According to the Post and Courier, Charleston police arrived around 11.15pm and were told by the woman that she had been sexually assaulted by an unknown man. The victim was taken to Medical University Hospital and later identified her attacker from a photo lineup.
The teacher, who was placed on paid leave, was arrested around 6pm on 10 August and told police that he offered the woman a ride, pulled off Savannah Highway, kissed her and performed oral sex on her. He also admitted to kicking her out of the vehicle.
The crime affidavit state the victim had trouble immediately recalling details of the incident but did remember being attacked and Aiello being on top of her. Police labeled the incident a "forcible rape."
Kaitlin Durkosh, an Uber spokeswoman, confirmed that Aiello was removed as a driver and that Uber was cooperating with authorities. "Our hearts go out to the victim and her family as we investigate this incident," she said.
Charleston County School District, where Aiello is a sixth-grade teacher, said he was placed on paid administrative leave and that the alleged events occurred "after school hours, and there is no indication that any student was involved."
According to Reuters, both of the charges Aiello faces are punishable by up to 30 years in prison.