A woman who got a ride from a man she thought worked for a ride-sharing service was sexually assaulted by the driver early Sunday on the campus of American University in Northwest Washington, authorities said.
Police charged El Honcine Jourhdaly, 36, of Springfield, Va., with one count of first-degree sexual abuse and kidnapping.
Authorities said the woman had noticed a sticker for Uber on the rear right-side passenger window of a Honda Civic and believed she was getting into a “vehicle for hire.” A spokeswoman for Uber said Jourhdaly had been a contractor until 2015, when he was removed. She declined to provide a reason for the removal.
The incident began early Sunday when the woman and a male friend got into the vehicle at Dupont Circle and asked to be taken to American University, according to an arrest affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court. Police said the couple flagged down the driver.
The affidavit says the driver instructed the woman to sit in the front seat, and when the car arrived at the destination, the driver ordered the male passenger to get out.
Police said the driver then sped off with the female passenger in the front seat. Police said he later stopped at the university and ordered her out of the
The sexual assault occurred on the university campus between 3:20 a.m. and 3:50 a.m., near the Asbury Building off the 4400 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW, police said.
Jourhdaly told detectives the woman “wanted to be with him,” police said in the court affidavit.
Mark Story, an American University spokesman, said he could not confirm whether the victim was a student at the school, citing confidentiality concerns and the police investigation.
Uber vehicles do not pick up people who try to flag them down. The service can only be ordered through its app, which provides the customer with information on the driver.
The company has issued safety tips, including advising customers to make sure the driver, vehicle and license plate number match the information on the app, which includes the driver’s photo. Customers can track their route via GPS and share their route with friends.
“Never get in a car with a driver who claims to be with Uber and offers a ride,” the company says.