Former Uber driver pleads not guilty to Kent rape charge

A 28-year-old Seattle man pleaded not guilty on Thursday to second-degree rape for allegedly attacking a 23-year-old Renton woman in Kent while he worked as an Uber and Lyft driver.

Ismael D. Moussaoui entered the plea in King County Superior Court at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Moussaoui spent four days in the county jail before posting bail Sept. 7. Bail was set at $100,000.

Kent Police arrested Moussaoui on Sept. 4 after responding to a suspicious circumstance at the Kentwood Apartments, 22415 Benson Road SE, where a woman advised officers that an Uber/Lyft driver drove away with her intoxicated friend about 15 minutes earlier, according to charging documents. Officers located Moussaoui in the East Hill area about an hour after the 911 call.

The woman at the apartment complex told police that she and her friend while attempting to get a ride home from Seattle’s Capital Hill area discovered their phone apps for Uber/Lyft weren’t working. While they were standing outside, a vehicle with Uber/Lyft logos pulled up, as drivers often frequent the area when bars are closing. The driver asked them if they needed a ride and indicated he would accept cash for payment rather than the credit card account required by the company.

The driver gave the women a ride to Kent. The one woman went inside her residence to get cash to pay for the ride and asked the driver to carry her friend to the apartment, which he started to do before stopping and returning to the car. When the woman came back outside, the vehicle and her friend were gone.

The woman who was attacked told officers she was extremely intoxicated and woke up to find the driver on top of her in the backseat of the car. She said she told him to stop numerous times before he removed her pants. She eventually punched him and scratched him and they ended up outside the vehicle. The driver got back inside the car and drove away. The woman told police she never consented to intercourse or any type of sexual contact with the man.

Uber is set up so rides can only be requested through the app and paid for with a credit card that is linked to the rider’s account, according to Uber. A spokesperson for San Francisco-based Uber said Moussaoui no longer worked for the company.

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