Convicted Sex Offender Accused of Raping Charlotte Uber Driver

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – 21-year-old Jonathan Neal is locked up in the Mecklenburg County Jail.

The registered sex offender is accused of forcibly raping an Uber driver just outside Uptown Charlotte early Saturday morning.

Investigators say the 31-year-old victim picked up the suspect near a shopping center on Albemarle Road after midnight.

While driving to the destination, the victim says Neal began to sexually assault her.

Eventually, police say he forced her to pull over near a storage center on North Graham Street, where he’s accused of raping her.

“It’s a pretty bold and audacious crime to commit,” says Lt. Brad Koch, with CMPD.

Police say the two did not know each other and it appears to be a crime of opportunity.

“You never know a person. You think somebody might be nice or whatever, but you just never really know,” says Charlotte Uber Driver Dorianne Molina.

Molina says the job can be difficult and dangerous at times.

She says drunk customers have groped and kissed her against her will.

“I don’t do nights anymore, cause there’s a lot of crazy guys out there after being intoxicated. It’s like they have no self-control over themselves,” she says.

Other Uber drivers tell me they take extra precautions to make sure they’re safe.

“Personally, if I don’t feel good about a particular client that I’m picking up, I won’t pick them up,” says Uber driver Lynn Smoot.

The suspect, Neal, got out of prison in April. He served nine months for kidnapping and sexual battery.

Police arrested him in 2015 after he was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl inside Mallard Creek High School, where he was a student at the time.