Woman sues Uber driver after sexual assault charges dropped

SHARE Woman sues Uber driver after sexual assault charges dropped

Sun-Times file photo

A woman has filed a civil lawsuit against Uber and the rideshare driver who was previously cleared of criminal charges that he kidnapped and sexually assaulted her two years ago at his Northwest Side apartment.

Maxime Fohounhedo, 32, spent about four months behind bars before a secret cellphone recording he kept during a conversation with the 22-year-old passenger prompted Cook County prosecutors to drop charges from the Nov. 16, 2014, incident, his attorney told the Sun-Times last year.

The suit filed anonymously Monday maintains that the woman was intoxicated and went in and out of consciousness when the driver picked her up on the Near North Side and took her to his Albany Park home to assault her.

Fohounhedo was driving with a temporary visitor’s license and violating Uber regulations by picking up customers while signed in to his wife’s Uber account, authorities said at the time.

The suit claims Uber matched her “with a kidnapper and molester” and failed to properly vet the driver.

An Uber spokeswoman said at the time of the charges that drivers are regularly audited and that the company continually checks riders’ comments. Another representative declined to comment Tuesday on the pending litigation.

The driver’s attorney, Shady Yassin, said last year that Fohounhedo “had a gut feeling he needed to protect himself” and recorded his nine-minute conversation with the woman on his phone.

“She was having a friendly conversation with him and talking about her boyfriend and her work and gave him a hug in the end,” according to Yassin, who said his client had no plans to drive for Uber again.

Yassin did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday evening on the two-count negligence suit, which seeks more than $100,000 in damages.

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