Police: Suffolk Uber driver raped underage girl

Posted: Updated:
RIVERHEAD -

An Uber driver faces a third-degree rape charge after police say he had a sexual relationship with an underage girl he met through the app.

"That right there is disgusting, and I would kill him," says Jonette Jackson, of Brentwood, who like other parents says she's horrified by the story.

Southampton Town police say Steven Palmer, 33, gave the 16-year-old victim a ride on Dec. 1, and the two quickly developed a sexual relationship. Southampton investigators say another agency contacted the town's police department last month to report the activity.

"He did develop a relationship -- that followed with some inappropriate contact," says Steven Skrynecki, the town's police chief. "She being a minor. He being in his 30s."

Police say they arrested the Medford man on Sunday. They say the statutory rape charge is based on the victim's age.

"What's been described has no place on the Uber app," the company said. "Upon learning of this, we immediately removed the driver's access to the app."

Authorities are asking anyone with information or who believe they may also be a victim to call Southampton police at 631-702-2230.

"It seems like this driver was using his Uber vehicle to attract potential victims," says Laura Ahearn, of Parents for Megan's Law. 

She says this case shows young riders should use the buddy system and avoid traveling alone.

"I think I would definitely rethink my child going into an Uber, if she were underage," says Connie Iannacone, a mom from Bay Shore.

  • Long Island Top StoriesMore>>

  • Funeral held for Dix Hills native killed in school shooting

    Funeral held for Dix Hills native killed in school shooting

    Sunday, February 18 2018 9:03 PM EST2018-02-19 02:03:23 GMT

    Funeral services were being held Sunday for a Dix Hills native who died in the Florida school shooting.

    Funeral services were being held Sunday for a Dix Hills native who died in the Florida school shooting.

  • Your February Snow Photos

    Your February Snow Photos

    Sunday, February 18 2018 10:54 AM EST2018-02-18 15:54:26 GMT
    Your February Snow PhotosYour February Snow Photos

    Did you snap a great pic of the snow from the overnight storm? Share with us here, or use the hashtag #LIWeather on Twitter and Instagram.

    Did you snap a great pic of the snow from the overnight storm? Share with us here, or use the hashtag #LIWeather on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Stats show decrease in fatal crashes on Long Island in 2017

    Stats show decrease in fatal crashes on Long Island in 2017

    Sunday, February 18 2018 6:34 PM EST2018-02-18 23:34:47 GMT
    New statistics indicate that fewer people were killed in vehicle crashes on Long Island last year.New statistics indicate that fewer people were killed in vehicle crashes on Long Island last year.

    New statistics indicate that fewer people were killed in vehicle crashes on Long Island last year.

    New statistics indicate that fewer people were killed in vehicle crashes on Long Island last year.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."