SEATTLE — A former Uber driver pleaded not guilty to a second-degree rape charge Thursday after a Kent passenger accused him of sexually assaulting her.
Uber said the accused driver, Ismael Moussaoui, no longer works for the company.
Q13 News obtained the 911 calls from the Sept. 4 incident. The first call is from a woman who said two of her friends took an Uber home to Kent. When they got to the destination, one of her friends came inside the apartment but the other one didn’t make it. The caller said the Uber driver disappeared with her.
“We don’t know where they went,” said the caller.
The caller said right before they vanished, the Uber driver was seen carrying their friend, who was intoxicated, toward the apartment building. But when they turned around, the two were gone.
A short time later, there were more 911 calls.
“I just heard a loud scream,” said one caller
“She’s still on the lawn,” said another caller.
Kent Police say they found the rape victim on the street with numerous scratches and bruises on her body. She told detectives she was intoxicated and woke up to Moussaoui sexually assaulting her. When officers caught up with the Uber driver, he was bleeding from the face but claimed it was consensual sex.
Women who use Uber say the news is disturbing and surprising.
“I’ve never had a situation where I felt unsafe,” Uber customer Joan Born said.
Uber says they do a thorough local, state and national background check on all of their drivers. They also do a sex offender check.
Moussaoui has no criminal history.
But at least one attorney in California, Lisa Bloom, says the company needs to do more.
Bloom is representing eight different women across the country now suing Uber over alleged sexual assaults.
Bloom says she wants Uber to put panic buttons and cameras in every car and maybe give female clients the option to choose female drivers. Born says she likes the idea of a panic button but not the other options.
“It’s a little too far in my mind,” Born said.
Q13 News did inquire about whether Uber is considering safety features like a panic button. We could not get a specific "no" or "yes" on the question but they did say they are constantly brainstorming ways to keep customers safe.
While riding Uber, the company says, make sure you get in the correct car identified in the app because Uber does track drivers using GPS.
Court documents say the women were having difficulty with the app but managed to flag the driver down in Seattle.
They agreed on a $40 ride home back to Kent.
It is company policy not to accept cash and not to pick up random passengers not matched through the app.