Teen says Uber driver terrorized her for an hour on Long Island

NASSAU COUNTY, Long Island (WABC) -- The teenage victim in an Uber ride that turned into a nightmare is speaking out about the harrowing ordeal, describing to "Good Morning America" how the driver kidnapped her -- and she feared the worst.

Quick thinking led to her escape.

"It's hard for me to open up and, like, trust people now," the victim said. "Because I put trust in that I would be able to get home safely. And I was not able to get home safely that night. "

ABC News is not naming the victim, who was 15 years old at the time she requested a ride in Nassau County after leaving a sweet 16 party.

She told ABC's Linsey Davis that when she was picked up in Atlantic Beach, her driver told her to sit up front.

"He said, 'Get in the front seat,'" the victim said. "Usually they're, they let you choose, you know? It's just expected for you to choose where you want to sit."

Authorities say that that's when 32-year-old Sean Williams invited the teen to go drinking with him and drive to his home in Brooklyn, where prosecutors claim he planned to sexually assault the girl.

"He kept asking me, like, if I wanted to go out for drinks with him sometime," she said. "And I said, "No, because I'm 15. I can't go out to drinks.' And, like, I just want to get home. But he kept, you know, insisting on that."

Eventually, the teen managed to convince Williams that she needed to go to the bathroom. When he pulled over at a McDonald's, she entered the restaurant and called 911.

"This is a young woman that was terrorized during this hour that she was in the car with him trapped and unable to get out," District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.

Days later, police arrested Williams, who has been released on $150,000 bail.

His attorney released a statement saying, "My client adamantly denies doing anything of any nature that can be construed as criminal. The facts and circumstances as alleged leave much to be debated at trial which my client is looking forward to."

Sexual assault allegations have plagued the ride-sharing industry, with multiple class action lawsuits filed against Uber and its competitors.

"What has been reported is deeply alarming, and the driver's access to the app was immediately removed when we learned about the incident," Uber said in a statement. "We continue to cooperate with law enforcement on their case."

The case is also raising questions about the company's policies concerning minors. Uber says only adults 18 and over can use the service, but the Uber app doesn't require a birthday to register an account.

"This company needs to take responsibility for their product and the service that they're providing to the public," the victim's attorney said.

The victim's family says ride share companies like Uber need to better vet their drivers.

"They shouldn't trust it," the victim said. "There is no 100% guarantee of your safety."

* More Long Island news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.