Woman sexually assaulted at American University by man she thought was Uber driver

Assault took place outside Asbury, police say

Woman sexually assaulted at American University by man she thought was Uber driver

Police say the assault took place near the Asbury building. 

Correction appended.

A woman who believed she was in an Uber was sexually assaulted by the car’s driver on AU property early Sunday morning, the University announced Sunday evening.

The incident occurred between 3:20 a.m. and 3:50 a.m., according to a press release from the Metropolitan Police Department. D.C. police told The Washington Post it occurred near the Asbury Building. Police have now arrested and charged El houcine Jourhdaly, 36, of Springfield, Virginia, with one count of first-degree sexual abuse and kidnapping.

University spokesman Mark Story would not tell the Post if the victim, identified as 21 years old by authorities, was an AU student, citing confidentiality concerns and the ongoing investigation.

The woman and a male friend got into the assailant’s vehicle near Dupont Circle after noticing an Uber sticker on his car, according to an arrest affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court. Jourhdaly told the friends that he would give them a ride, police said.

Jourhdaly had previously worked as an Uber driver, starting in January 2014. But, he was removed in 2015 for unknown reasons, the company told the Post.

Once the pair was in the car, the driver pulled over and ordered the woman to sit in the front seat, which she did, the affidavit said.

When the car arrived at the destination, the driver told the male passenger to get out and sped off with the female passenger still inside the vehicle. The male passenger called the woman, who answered and said she didn’t know where they were going, police said.

Jourhdaly got on the phone and said they were going to a nearby McDonald’s, according to the affidavit. He later stopped and ordered the woman out of the car before assaulting her near the University, according to the affidavit. The Metropolitan Police Department reported the sex offense to the American University Police Department.

Jourhdaly’s preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

hsamsel@theeagleonline.com and jgagnon@theeagleonline.com

Correction: This article previously stated that the victim first reported her assault to the American University Police Department. It has since been corrected to say that the Metropolitan Police Department reported it to American University Police Department.

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