Another Uber X driver charged with sexually assaulting customer

SHARE Another Uber X driver charged with sexually assaulting customer

Before the slight young man got into the Uber X car he had requested, he was warned that the back seat was unkempt and broken.

Sit in the front, Adnan Nafasat allegedly coaxed his customer after picking him up in the Lake View neighborhood in the early morning hours of July 31.

Nafasat was hardly being a gentleman, Cook County prosecutors said.

The married father of three used the ruse of a dirty back seat so he could get the passenger close to him in order to sexually attack the man and choke him until he nearly blacked out, authorities said.

Nafasat, 46, is the second Uber X driver in the Chicago area within roughly two weeks to be charged with sexually assaulting a patron of the popular ride-hailing company.

Shortly before the New Year, Maxime Fohounhedo appeared at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on charges of raping an inebriated customer in his Albany Park apartment on Nov. 16.

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Nafasat, like Fohounhedo, was immediately removed as an Uber driver once the company learned authorities were investigating him, Uber spokeswoman Jennifer Mullin said.

“Our thoughts are with the victim of this horrible incident. We immediately removed the driver from our platform upon learning of the allegations and have been assisting authorities with the investigation,” Mullin said in a statement on Wednesday.

Asked about the second attack by an Uber driver — and whether the city’s rideshare ordinance needs to be tougher — a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded:

“Public safety is a primary concern and we do not and will not tolerate unsafe drivers for any service that operates in Chicago,” Elizabeth Langsdorf wrote in an emailed statement. “The city expects rideshare companies to be diligent in screening their drivers. Our regulatory plan, approved by the City Council, includes background checks, training and vehicle inspections that work to ensure public safety and protect both business and consumers.

“The city’s background check standards for rideshare companies were developed to protect riders and we will not accept any operator being lax on their background check standards,” the statement continued. “We are working closely with all rideshare companies to ensure they are compliant with the safety requirements outlined in the ordinance and they are working with the city to meet compliance.”

During the car ride last summer, Nafasat touched his 21-year-old passenger’s groin and put his tongue and fingers in his mouth, Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Cooper said.

The man, who had asked to be picked up near the 700 block of West Cornelia Avenue, repeatedly asked to be taken home.

But Nafasat told the man that he was not going home and that nobody knew where he was, Cooper said.

When the car was stopped in traffic, Nafasat — who is 5 feet 10 and 240 pounds — started choking the victim, who is 5 feet 8 and 110 pounds, Cooper said.

The man, who almost became unconscious, tried to get out of Nafasat’s car, but Nafasat was driving too fast and continued driving south into a neighborhood the victim didn’t recognize, Cooper said.

Eventually, Nafasat curbed his car, unzipped his pants and allegedly tried to force the younger man’s head onto his penis.

The victim pushed away from Nafasat and begged again to be taken home, Cooper said.

This time Nafasat complied, and when the Uber customer entered his building that day, the doorman noticed he was visibly shaken, Cooper said.

The victim went to police and showed officers screen shots from his cellphone that contained a picture of Nafasat and his name, Cooper said.

The victim also positively identified Nafasat in a photo array, Cooper said.

Nafasat, of Villa Park, admitted that he groped the male customer and had exposed himself, prosecutors said.

Nafasat, a native of Pakistan, runs his own business and drove for Uber to supplement his income, said Carey Crimmins, his attorney.

Judge James Brown ordered Nafasat held in lieu of $150,000 bail Wednesday on charges of criminal sexual assault, unlawful restraint and kidnapping.

Prosecutors asked the judge to keep Nafasat from working for Uber or any other business that involves driving others for a fee.

But Brown denied the request.

Nafasat doesn’t have a criminal background, but he was stopped for over two dozen traffic violations in Cook County between 1992 and 2006, according to traffic records.

He also received a ticket for disregarding a traffic device in 2010 in DuPage County, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Nafasat does not have any DUIs or hit-and-runs on his record. He also has not been involved in any fatal accidents or cited for driving without insurance or on suspended license in the last three years, charges that would keep him from securing an Uber account.

Late last month, Judge Peggy Chiampas banned Fohounhedo, 30, from driving for Uber or any other car service.

“He will not be Ubering anybody,” the judge said of Fohounhedo after prosecutors detailed how he allegedly attacked a heavily intoxicated 22-year-old female passenger.

Fohounhedo also lured his alleged victim to the front passenger seat by telling her he was unsure where her address was.

The woman fell asleep several times before waking up and finding herself on a couch with the married Fohounhedo on top of her.

“I made you happy,” Fohounhedo allegedly told the woman before driving her home.

Contributing: Fran Spielman

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