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Who Is Richard Lomotey? New Details On Penn State Professor Who Sidelined As Uber Driver To Kidnap Women

Photo: Pennsylvania State University
Who Is Richard Lomotey? New Details On Penn State Professor Who Sidelined As Uber Driver To Kidnap Women

An assistant professor at Penn State University is under arrest after being charged with kidnapping and harassing two women. Richard Lomotey was moonlighting as an Uber drive when he picked up two women late at night and started making suggestive remarks. He then pulled off the road and threatened them. The women were able to escape to safety and police arrested Lomotey a short time later. Lomotey was arraigned on May 11th and will be back in court for preliminary hearings on May 23rd. Uber says it has removed his access to the app and he can longer drive for them. The university claims to be cooperating with law enforcement.What do you need to now about Richard Lomotey? Who is Richard Lomotey? Read on for details.

1. Kidnapping

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that at 1:30 on May 11th, Richard Lomotey picked up two women who had summoned an Uber ride. As he was driving, the women noticed that he was diverging from the GPS route to their destination. he also started talking about their appearances, noting that he was single and that he wanted to “get with them." He then pulled over, locked the vehicle doors and told the women “you’re not going anywhere.” The women were able to escape and call 911 for assistance. Later, they were able to identify Lomotey based on a screenshot of his Uber app profile. His license plate information corresponded with what the women had in the app as well, according to police. The women are uninjured. Lomotey now faces two counts each of kidnapping, false imprisonment and harassment.

Lomotey tried to kidnap two passengers.

2. Professor

According to his LinkedIn profile, Lomotey has a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cape Coast, as well as a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Computer Sciences from the University of Saskatchewan. He’s been an assistant professor at Penn State University since 2015, and the University website lists his research interests as mobile cloud computing, cyber physical devices or the Internet of Things, enterprise applications, web services, and databases. In 2016, he was focusing on mobile apps that could provide medical assistance to people who otherwise might not have adequate access to health care. The Penn State website says: “(Lomotey) envisions putting mobile self-assessment tools into the hands of technologically savvy patients, halting unnecessary doctor visits, helping to reduce the burden on health care facilities, and bringing balance to the doctor-patient ratio.”

Lomotey worked as a Uber driver.

RELATED:  Disturbing New Details About The Uber Driver In The U.S. Illegally Who Was Found Guilty Of Raping 4 California Women

3. Penn State Response

The University was limited in what it could say about one of its employees being charged with kidnapping but it did issue a brief statement saying: "These allegations are deeply troubling and we have revoked his access to campus as we look into this matter. This is obviously a criminal matter and we cannot comment further.” 

Penn State has revoked his access to the campus.

4. Uber response

Uber issued a short statement as well, saying: “What’s been described is unacceptable. The driver’s access to the app has been removed and we stand ready to cooperate with law enforcement to support their investigation.” Uber claims to conduct criminal background checks on all drivers and has safety resources for riders on their website.

Uber made a short statement.

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5. Ride share safety

This is not the first time Uber has had to deal with the repercussions of one of their drivers committing violent acts. In 2018, a woman known only as Jane Doe was raped by Uber driver Raul E. Rodriguez Vasquez in Washington DC. Rodriguez pleaded guilty and was jailed. Now, Jane Doe has filed suit against the company for $10 million in damages, according to The Verge. In 2017, a Kansas City woman sued Uber after being raped by a driver. The suit claimed the company ignored warnings about the driver’s criminal history. Over 100 other cases have been filed alleging violence by drivers and 31 drivers have been prosecuted.  Uber  increased their safety measures and changed the manner of how the company dealt with such complaints in order to make them more fair to victims of assault. The Heavy reports that prior to April 2018, Uber had forced arbitration agreements that compelled plaintiffs to sign non-disclosure agreements when filing allegations against drivers.

A woman in South Carolina was killed by a man posing as an Uber driver.

Rideshare technology is a boon for many people but it is important that safety be paramount for all riders. Lomotey is expected back in court later this month.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.