Uber Driver Accused of Groping Passenger in Woodbridge

UPDATE, OCT. 6, 2015: Charges have been dropped against Mengistu Asfaw.


An Uber driver is accused of groping a passenger after driving her and a friend home in northern Virginia, and police want to know if he is connected to a sex assault case from over the weekend.

A 24-year-old woman told police that she and a female friend used the Uber app to get a ride home to Woodbridge from the Clarendon neighborhood in Arlington early July 12.

Mengistu Asfaw drove the women to the 2200 block of York Drive in Woodbridge around 3:15 a.m., Prince William County Police say. He then got out of the vehicle, approached the victim and groped her over her clothing as she helped her friend out of the car, police said.

The second woman did not see the incident, police said.

Asfaw was arrested Wednesday. Prince William County Police say they used the woman's Uber app and history to get information on the suspect, including his name and license plate.

Asfaw adamantly denied the allegations, telling Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey, "I'm an innocent person. I did not touch her."

His lawyer said they will vigorously investigate the allegations on their own and are looking for witnesses.

"The driver partner's access to the Uber platform has been permanently removed, and we continue to investigate the incident," the company said in a statement. "We have reached out to the rider to offer our support and stand ready to assist the authorities.”

Arlington County Police are looking into whether Asfaw is connected to a case they are investigating. Last weekend, an intoxicated woman got in an Uber car she didn't order, Arlington County Police said. She said when she was unable to pay the fare at her stop, the driver sexually assaulted her. Arlington police are talking to Prince William police.

Asfaw, 58, has been charged with misdemeanor sexual battery. He is due in court Sept. 9. His bond has been set at $5,000.

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