Feb 22, 2023
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) announced the arrest of a local rideshare driver in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a woman in Malibu.
Authorities confirmed that Kyle Jon Cook, 28, was arrested on February 14 for a reported sexual assault incident which occurred on January 21. Cook is alleged to have assaulted the woman while working as a rideshare driver.
Cook was released from custody “pending further review by the District Attorney’s office,” according to a statement from the LASD.
However, investigators indicated that there may be additional women victimized by Cook who have yet to be identified.
“Based on the nature of the allegations and Mr. Cook’s access to rideshare participants, detectives believe there may be additional unidentified victims,” the sheriff’s department said. “Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying any such victims.”
Authorities provided the following physical description of Cook:
Cook reportedly operated a 2022 white-colored Nissan Versa sedan as a rideshare driver, according to a KTLA story. Fox 11 reported that the rideshare company which employed Cook as a driver is currently “unknown.”
Anyone with information related to a sexual assault committed by rideshare driver Kyle Jon Cook or the identity of a possible victim is urged to contact the LASD’s Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to remain anonymous, tips can be submitted to “Crime Stoppers” at 800-222-8477 or online at lacrimestoppers.org.
The LASD announcement confirming the arrest of Kyle Jon Cook comes after a spate of recent sexual assaults of local women have made headlines.
In September 2022, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) authorities arrested 37-year-old Jonh Erik Bastidas Arenas in connection to an August armed sexual assault of a minor. Law enforcement officials indicated that the victim was walking home in the area of Gilmore Street and Sylmar Avenue, near Van Nuys Elementary School, on August 13, 2022, when the suspect drove up in a 2021 white Toyota Prius.
LAPD officials said the suspect then “opened the passenger door of the Prius, brandished a weapon, and directed the victim to enter the car.”
“Out of fear, the victim complied with his demand,” LAPD officials said in a news release last autumn. “While inside the vehicle, the suspect sexually assaulted the victim.“
Sexual assault has been an ongoing issue which rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have attempted to address through in-house safety reports as well as some added protections for passengers and drivers alike. But the sheer number of sexual assaults reported by Uber and Lyft passengers, in particular, is concerning to many.
Lyft’s first-ever “safety report” confirmed 4,158 reports of sexual assault on its platform throughout 2017, 2018, and 2019.
“Lyft confirmed that sexual assault complaints on its platform had increased from around 1,100 in 2017 to some 1,800 in 2019. However, the company also noted that rideshare bookings increased at a higher rate during that time, resulting in a 19% decrease in the overall incident rate,” Dordulian Law Group wrote in an earlier blog.
Lyft’s safety report also confirmed (over the three-year period):
At the time of the report’s release, Lyft noted that they were taking steps to address the number of sexual assault incidents recorded:
Lyft’s safety report was released approximately two years after rideshare competitor company Uber published its first-ever detailed analysis of sexual assaults at the end of 2019. In Uber’s safety report, the company disclosed that it had received approximately 6,000 claims of sexual assault following 2.3 billion rideshare trips in the United States throughout 2017 and 2018.
Both Uber and Lyft have faced a wave of sexual assault civil lawsuits in recent years.
In September 2022, Lyft was hit with 17 sexual and physical assault lawsuits on behalf of both drivers and passengers. 14 of those lawsuits were filed by individuals alleging they were sexually assaulted, while the three other complaints were filed by individuals alleging they were physically assaulted.
“All of the [survivors who were] drivers and passengers said Lyft did practically nothing to help them after they reported their assaults, other than telling them they were sorry for their experience and that they would suspend the account of the driver or passenger who assaulted them. Two drivers said Lyft offered them a few hundred dollars after they reported their assaults, but did not follow up with them afterward,” according to a report from National Public Radio (NPR).
In December 2021, a $9 million settlement agreement was reached between Uber and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
The multi-million dollar settlement was in response to Uber’s failure to comply with requests from California regulators regarding information related to sexual assault claims made by both customers and drivers over the course of two years, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
Multiple parties were involved in reaching the $9 million Uber settlement agreement:
The settlement resolved a previous Order to Show Cause brought against Uber by the CPUC for the aforementioned failure to produce information on reports of sexual assaults and harassments against the rideshare company.
In October 2022, an investigative report from the New York Times highlighted a need for Uber to report sexual assault complaints from both passengers and drivers to local law enforcement agencies.
Officials from California’s Santa Clara County issued a memo to Uber urging the rideshare company to report sex crimes to authorities. At the time of the memo’s release, Uber had declined all efforts on the part of Santa Clara officials, arguing that survivors of sexual assault “should control when and how to disclose their experiences.”
“The impasse is part of a larger battle over the way Uber and other ride-hailing companies handle reports of sexual assault,” the New York Times said. “In recent years, both Uber and Lyft have released data revealing the number of assault and harassment incidents reported to the company. The two companies have also started sharing data about dangerous drivers with each other.”
Survivors of rideshare sexual assault have rights as well as options under California law. A civil lawsuit can be a means of helping an Uber or Lyft sexual assault survivor obtain much-needed financial compensation. Additionally, civil claims may be brought regardless of whether or not the local District Attorney’s Office ever files criminal charges against a rideshare sexual predator.
At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we fight aggressively on behalf of survivors – working tirelessly to secure justice and maximum financial damages awards for all cases.
Some of our recent sexual assault damages awards include:
California’s new Sexual Abuse And Cover-Up Accountability Act (AB 2777) opens a three-year window for all adult survivors of sexual assault whose crimes occurred on or after January 1, 2009 to sue for damages. Under AB 2777, the statute of limitations on previously barred sexual assault claims is temporarily removed – allowing any adult survivor to file a claim until December 31, 2026. To file your claim and take the first step toward securing justice for an Uber or Lyft sexual assault, contact DLG today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM.
Sam Dordulian leads a group of professionals with an array of sex crimes experience known as the SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts).
As a former sex crimes prosecutor and member of RAINN’s (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) National Leadership Council, Dordulian oversees a team of dedicated and proven Los Angeles sexual assault attorneys fighting for justice on behalf of all survivors. After maintaining a 98% winning record through more than 100 jury trial victories and securing over $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts for clients like you, DLG is the best choice you can make when searching for a California sexual assault firm that will treat you and your case with the respect, discretion, and professionalism it deserves.
Contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM for your free and confidential Los Angeles Uber or Lyft sexual assault consultation.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.