A man accused of posing as an Uber driver and raping a D.C. college student who was his passenger was released from jail Wednesday despite the rape charge.
El Houcine Jourhdaly, 36, said he had sex with the woman but that it was consensual. D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz ruled that under D.C. Code, the woman was too drunk to consent to sex.
Details revealed in court shed new light on the alleged crime that shocked many ride-hailing service users and members of the American University community.
Surveillance video shows Jourhdaly circling the campus before the alleged attack, a detective testified.
The 20-year-old woman and her friend, a man, told police they saw an Uber sticker on a car near Dupont Circle about 3:20 a.m. Sunday. They were leaving the bar Manor after a night of drinking and flagged down the driver.
Jourhdaly said he would drive the pair, and they got in the car, police said.
According to the driver and the woman's friend, the woman and her friend were arguing, and then she passed out. When the car got to American University, the male passenger got out and Jourhdaly took off with the woman still in the car, police said.
Surveillance footage shows him driving around campus for 10 to 15 minutes and then stopping in a remote parking lot.
Then, the woman says the driver raped her.
Then, he drove her to her dormitory and dropped her off.
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Jourhdaly, of Springfield, Virginia, was initially arrested on sexual abuse and kidnapping charges. The judge dropped the kidnapping charge on Friday for lack of evidence.
He has no prior criminal record. The judge ordered him to get a GPS monitor, stay away from the victim and not drive anyone but family members.
Police say video shows Jourhdaly's car had an Uber sticker before the assault. The sticker was gone when police went to interview him at his home in Virginia, police said.
Uber said Jourhdaly was a driver for the service beginning in January 2014, but said he was banned from the app in 2015. The company declined to say why he was removed. Uber initially told News4 that Jourhdaly did not appear to be an active driver.
Lyft said Jourhdaly applied to be a driver but was not approved.
The woman initially reported the crime to campus police.
American University issued a crime alert to students and staff. Information on the alert was posted on the AU Public Safety Twitter account about 8:45 p.m. They reminded students to only request rides through official apps.
Police ask anyone who has information or had a previous encounter with Jourhdaly to call police at 202-727-9099.
Jourhdaly is due in court Jan. 16.