Sex Assault Charges Against Driver Dispatched by Uber Dropped

Woman told police she was raped in northwest D.C.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Charges against a driver dispatched by a popular local sedan service accused of the rape of a female passenger in the driveway of her northwest D.C. home were dropped Thursday, according to his attorney.

    The attorney for Anouar Habib Trabelsi, 35, of Alexandria, said his client is cooperating with police and maintains the sex was consensual. The U.S. Attorney's Office will continued to investigate the woman's allegations and charges could be brought again.

    The woman told police that around 3 a.m. on Dec. 8, she ordered a ride from Uber -- a service that dispatches licensed limo drivers from various companies -- by using an app on her smartphone.

    According to court documents, a driver picked up the woman from Nellie's Sports Bar on U Street and took her to her home on 36th Street NW.

    While they were traveling, the driver asked her if she'd ever dated a Moroccan man, she told police, but she didn't respond.

    After they arrived, she got out of the car, but the driver followed her up the driveway, and then grabbed her, forced her to the ground and raped her, the woman told police.

    He then told her, "You should come home with me or let me spend the night," court documents say. Instead, the woman went inside and then to the George Washington University Hospital, where she reported the assault and had an exam.

    The woman was able to provide police the receipt from her ride, which included the name of the driver.

    Police then ordered the driver to provide a DNA sample, which he did Dec. 15.

    On Wednesday, police were unable to immediately verify that there was a DNA match, or confirm the reason for the delay between the alleged assault and the arrest.

    However, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier has previously said that lab results take time when questioned about this case, reported News4's Mark Segraves.

    Rachel Holt, general manager for Uber, sent the following statement to News4 on Thursday:

    "Immediately upon being told that a driver for Capitol Limo, a limo company utilizing Uber technology, was suspected of committing a crime, we deactivated the partner account. He has not done a single ride through Uber since then. We have worked closely with the police and prosecutors investigating this incident, and will continue to help them in any way possible. The safety of our users is absolutely paramount, and we will continue to be vigilant that riders' safety and security are protected."

    Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for more.