Uber driver arrested in alleged rape, but prosecutors don't charge him

By and |
Local,DC,Crime,Scott McCabe,Naomi Jagoda,Metro and Traffic

A driver for the Uber car service was arrested in the alleged rape of a passenger in Northwest Washington, authorities said Thursday, but prosecutors have decided not to move forward with charging him.

Anouar Habib Trabelsi, 35, of Alexandria, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse, police said.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Bill Miller declined to discuss why prosecutors decided not to bring charges to court, noting that the case remains under investigation. Police had obtained DNA samples from Trabelsi, but Miller would not talk about DNA evidence or other aspects of the case.

According to the affidavit supporting a search warrant for the DNA samples, a woman told police that on Dec. 8, she and several friends went out to celebrate the birthday of one of the group's members. During the festivities, the woman had three vodka drinks and had shared a marijuana cigarette, and she was told by an employee of a U Street bar that she had to leave because she was intoxicated.

The woman then called Uber, a service that allows riders to use a smartphone application to hire cars, to get a ride home. During the trip, the driver asked her whether she had ever dated a Moroccan man and tried to make small talk with her, but she didn't feel like chatting, according to the court document.

When the passenger arrived at her home on the 3200 block of 36th Street NW, she paid and got out of the cab. She told police that when she was walking up the driveway, the driver accosted her and raped her, according to the affidavit.

When the woman spoke to police after the incident, she retrieved an electronic receipt from Uber that listed the driver as "Anouar" and had his photo. The woman told police she was 75 to 80 percent sure that the man in the photo was her attacker.

Rachel Holt, Uber's general manager in D.C., said in a statement Thursday that Trabelsi hasn't driven any passengers for the service since Uber learned he was suspected of committing a crime.

"We have worked closely with the police and prosecutors investigating this incident, and will continue to help them in any way possible," Holt said.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner
Author:

Naomi Jagoda

Staff reporter
The Washington Examiner