WASHINGTON -- The Uber driver accused of raping a female passenger after driving her to her Washington, D.C., home has been arrested.
Anouar Habib Trabelsi, of Alexandria, was arrested Tuesday by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and charged with one count of first-degree sexual abuse, police said. He is awaiting a hearing in D.C. Superior Court, possibly later Thursday.
The attack occurred Dec. 8 in the Cleveland Park neighborhood in the driveway of the victim’s home, according to a search warrant application filed in court by D.C. police. When authorities described the alleged attack at the time, they did not identify an Uber driver as a possible suspect, saying only that a man was being questioned.
The details of this crime, which was allegedly recorded on a security camera, first came out on a Cleveland Park community online bulletin board. DCist re-posted that message:
A woman's teen-age daughter used Uber car serve to return to her home last night after a late evening. The car drove up the family's driveway around 3:30 AM. The girl walked to the door but the driver called her back.
When she went back, the driver struck her on the head and raped her.
The family has a security camera in the driveway. The camera showed the driver carrying the girl's limp body back to the house. She is now at home, trying to rest. The entire family is of course very shaken.
Because of the cameras, they know who did it. As of this morning, he had not yet been arrested, but many officers are involved and he will be.
A spokesperson for the District of Columbia Courts told The Huffington Post early Thursday afternoon that the U.S. Attorney's Office had not yet filed charging documents against Trabelsi.
Rachel Holt, general manager for D.C. operations of the San Francisco-based luxury sedan service, released a statement published on WTOP, and other outlets:
"We have worked closely with the police and prosecutors investigating this incident, and will continue to help them in any way possible," Uber says in a statement. "The safety of our users is absolutely paramount, and we will continue to be vigilant that riders' safety and security are protected."
A civil lawsuit was recently filed against another D.C.-based Uber driver. This driver stands accused of verbally abusing, spitting on and slapping a customer.
UPDATE, March 14, 5:06 p.m.: William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office, tells The Huffington Post that "The U.S. Attorney’s Office has reviewed the case and is not moving forward with charges at this time. The investigation is continuing."
"My understanding is that [Trabelsi] will be released," said Miller.
When asked for further details about what happened between the announcement of the arrest and the U.S. Attorney's Office's decision not to charge Trabelsi, Miller said that "The U.S. Attorney’s Office typically does not comment on charging decisions, and because this case is under investigation, we decline to provide details at this time."
NBC4 reports that Trabelsi's attorney says his client is cooperating with police and that the sex was consensual.
This is a developing story...
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