Uber driver accused of sex assault

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The city of Houston says it has no record of a permit application for the Uber driver who is accused of sexually assaulting a customer.

Duncan Burton, 57, is charged with sexual assault following an alleged attack in January where investigators say he raped a woman who had requested a ride home. According to court documents, the woman was drunk and couldn't remember her address so he allegedly took her to his home in southwest Houston where the woman believes the attack took place.

Uber said last week that Burton had passed its background checks and that he was allowed to drive for them. But Eyewitness News has learned that Burton served 14 years in federal prison for conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute cocaine. His former attorney Cheri Duncan confirms his criminal history.

City officials though say that's proof that Uber's background check is not as thorough as the one required by Houston's regulations.

"The reason why that national background check, fingerprint-based, is so important is because not all background checks are alike," said Lara Cottingham with the City of Houston's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department.

Current regulations in Houston do not allow permits to be granted to those convicted of offenses related to violence, drugs or alcohol.

Cottingham says city leaders are headed to Austin to persue legislation that would create a statewide requirement for background checks on drivers for Uber and other entities, rather than leaving things as they are now, up to individual municipalities.

No spokesperson for Uber returned repeated calls Tuesday for comment.
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