Evanston man charged with sexual assault after posing as ride share driver


Daily file photo by Allie Goulding

A University Police vehicle. On separate occasions, investigators say a suspect attempted to use the dating app Tinder to potentially sexually assault two students.

Marissa Martinez, Summer Editor

This post was updated Aug. 14 to reflect new information. 

On Tuesday, Northwestern University Police were informed of a suspect who attempted to use the dating app Tinder to coerce two NU students on separate occasions. 

Evanston man Jason Taylor, 28, allegedly posed as a ride share driver and sexually assaulted a woman he met on a dating app after she entered his vehicle, police said. According to Evanston Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew, Taylor also tried to harm the two NU students and a Loyola University Chicago student.

EPD investigators say the suspect tried to establish a false identity on the app to meet students and possibly commit sexual assault. The students declined attempts to meet, according to a University-wide email sent Tuesday night by University Police Chief Bruce Lewis. However, investigators say the suspect further harassed the students electronically. 

Taylor was arrested last week and charged with criminal sexual assault on Sunday, according to police. He will appear in court again August 19.

The release encouraged students to exercise caution if using Tinder or other dating apps to meet people, but reaffirmed that “perpetrators are solely responsible for sexual assaults.”

“Dating apps and ride shares are part of our everyday life, but we need to recognize that sometimes people will try to use them with bad intent, and we just need to be cautious,” Glew told ABC News in an interview.

Taylor’s arrest comes after some worry about the University’s switch from the student-driven Safe Ride program to Via, a third-party ride share service. Many students said they used Safe Ride because of the familiarity of fellow NU drivers in the car during late night rides, rather than strangers.

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