by: Eric Rasmussen Updated:
BOSTON - A convicted sex offender was working as an Uber driver ferrying Boston-area passengers, FOX25 Investigates uncovered.
Massachusetts State Police confirm a trooper stopped a driver in a Kia Sorrento at Boston Logan Airport on Thursday and they plan to issue a court summons for driving with a suspended license, revoked registration and canceled insurance.
FOX25 Investigates has learned that driver, 54-year-old Ronald Deluca, is a Level 2 sex offender, according to public records obtained from the North Andover Police Department.
Deluca’s driving record is 18 pages, detailing a variety of citations, including speeding, license suspensions, and traffic violations.
Efforts to reach Deluca at his North Andover home were unsuccessful.
A spokesperson for Uber emailed the following statement about the incident to FOX25:
“The account of the driver involved in the alleged incident has been put on hold while we review further. We are reaching out to local law enforcement to assist in their investigation in any way we can."
So far, no one with Uber has explained how its background checks didn’t flag a driver without a valid license or registration. Uber has also declined to explain how a registered sex offender was cleared to drive for the company.
Scott Solombrino, CEO of BostonCoach, said he’s calling on state lawmakers to pass requirements for fingerprinting all taxicab and ride-sharing drivers in the state.
“We think it’s the only way to ensure that the public in Massachusetts is protected from not allowing these companies to hire people that might be under indictment or have criminal violations or convictions in their past,” said Solombrino. “Right now they’re not doing that and we think it’s really outrageous.”
Those behind the wheel of Boston taxis are subjected to more scrutiny than Uber drivers.
Boston Police said they began fingerprinting cab drivers as part of the hackney licensing process about four months ago.
Since then, police revoked the license of one city taxicab driver after they discovered he was a convicted sex offender, FOX25 Investigates has learned.
Police told FOX25 that it appeared the driver had changed his name to avoid detection during previous criminal background checks, but his fingerprints revealed his sex offender status.
Registered sex offenders are not allowed to drive city cabs. Taxi drivers must also be at least 21-years-old without any felony or drug convictions during the prior five years, have a valid state driver’s license and have been cited for minimal moving violations in the past several years – among other requirements.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commissioner Bill Evans are among those also calling for more regulation of ride-sharing companies, such as Uber.
“I think Uber offers a great service, I just don't know what they've got to hide. It takes all of ten minutes to get fingerprinted and if we can take that extra measure of safety, what evil is in that?” said Evans.
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