Southampton police want to talk to former passengers of an Uber driver charged this week with rape who may have experienced an “issue” with him.
The driver, Steven Palmer, 33, of Winged Foot Drive in Medford, is accused in the December rape of a 16-year-old girl who was a passenger in his car, police said.
Palmer was charged with third-degree rape and was released Wednesday on a $40,000 bond, according to the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s statutory rape based on [the alleged victim’s] age,” Southampton Police Lt. Susan Ralph said Thursday, referring to the allegation against Palmer. She said police would like to hear from any other passenger “who had an issue with the guy — to call us if there was an issue.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 631-702-2230.
No attorney for Palmer was listed on court records and Palmer could not be reached for comment.
An Uber spokeswoman said in an emailed statement Wednesday that Palmer is currently not driving for the company.
“What’s been described has no place on the Uber app,” the spokeswoman said. “Upon learning of this, we immediately removed the driver’s access to the app.”
The spokeswoman said that if proved, the charges would violate the company’s guidelines that bar inappropriate and sexual conduct.
Ralph said the victim called for an Uber ride on Dec. 1, but the lieutenant declined to reveal some details of the case, including where the victim was picked up.
Ralph said, however, when the victim was picked up she was “upset” about something, and Palmer pulled over and they talked.
“They subsequently have sex and over a period of four days they have a relationship going,” Ralph said. During that period, the victim and Palmer were having sex in his vehicle while it was parked within Southampton Town, Ralph said.
Following an investigation, Palmer was arrested Sunday in front of his home and arraigned in Southampton Town Justice Court on Monday, Ralph said.
With Joan Gralla