Oct 20, 2017

Tech CEO arrested for child rape

Former Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer. Screengrab via vungle.com

Zain Jaffer is currently in a Silicon Valley jail cell, after being arrested for sexual assault of a child and attempted murder. He also has been put on indefinite leave as CEO of Vungle, the mobile video ad company that he founded in 2011.

The San Mateo County Sheriff's website shows that 29 year-old Jaffer was initially booked with felony charges for attempted murder, a lewd act on a child, oral copulation of a person under 14, child abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor charge for battery upon an officer and emergency personnel. The attempted murder charge has since been dropped due to a lack of evidence.

Vungle did not initially issue a comment on Jaffer's arrest, except to say he has been suspended for personal reasons not having to do with the company. It has since issued the following statement:

"While we do not have any information that is not in the public record at this point, these are extremely serious allegations, and we are shocked beyond words. While these are only preliminary charges, they are obviously so serious that it led to the immediate removal of Mr. Jaffer from any operational responsibility at the company. The company stressed that this matter has nothing to do with Mr. Jaffer's former role at the company."

New CEO Rick Tallman later added in a statement that the company learned of the allegations late Monday night and convened a board meeting to remove Jaffer as CEO within 24 hours.

Record: Jaffer was arrested on Sunday and arraigned on Tuesday, according to Forbes, and his next court date is November 1. He is currently being held on bail at the Maple Street Correctional Center in Redwood City, California.

"Mr. Jaffer had pleaded not guilty and had no public comment at this time," Jaffer's attorney, Daniel Olmos, told Axios via email.

Investors: The San Francisco-based company has raised over $25 million in VC funding from firms like Google Ventures, Thomvest Ventures, Crosslink Capital, SoftTech VC and 500 Startups. Investors not represented on the board were informed yesterday of the CEO switch, but not of Jaffer's arrest. Google Ventures CEO David Krane provided the following statement:

"We are horrified by the news about Zain Jaffer and unequivocally condemn such behavior. Our hearts go out to the many people affected, particularly Zain Jaffer's family and the Vungle team."

The story has been updated with an updated timeline of events, and additional details and statements from Vungle and Jaffer's attorney. The headline has also been updated to reflect that the charge for attempted murder has since been dropped.

Go deeper