Uber Driver Charged With Teen Girl's Rape Sobs During Arraignment
Darnell Booth's arraignment was delayed as his defense attorney tried consoling him
As the criminal charges against him were being outlined at his arraignment on Thursday, a onetime Uber driver – accused in the rape of a 16-year-old girl – slumped over inside a Massachusetts courtroom before collapsing to the floor, where he started sobbing uncontrollably, PEOPLE confirms.
A court official tells PEOPLE 34-year-old Darnell Booth’s arraignment was delayed as his defense attorney tried consoling him.
The lawyer eventually helped Booth get back on his feet for the remainder of Thursday’s court proceedings, the court official confirms.
Booth was detained on Wednesday by officers from the Everett Police Department. A statement from prosecutors alleges he raped the girl in a vacant parking lot early last month.
Booth is being held without bail and his lawyer insists his client is innocent.
According to the prosecution’s statement, Booth was working for Uber when he first met the girl several days before the alleged assault. He’d given her a ride from Melrose to Everett.
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During that trip, investigators claim Booth asked the girl for her Snapchat handle. She provided it to him, and they began chatting.
Prosecutors allege Booth messaged the girl on July 5, asking if she needed a ride to school after missing her bus.
It was during that ride, prosecutors insist, that Booth pulled his car into a vacant parking lot, where he slapped the girl before raping her.
According to prosecutors, Booth has an extensive criminal history. Officials refused to detail his previous arrests.
Booth, who faces a single rape charge, is due back in court for a hearing on Monday.
“The defendant in this case allegedly took advantage of a young woman who trusted him in his professional capacity as an Uber driver,” said Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan in a statement. “Even with increased screening in place under the new law, it is critical that consumers continue to use caution when employing these services.”