A former Uber driver convicted in Illinois of abusing a female passenger managed to avoid further charges after prosecutors alleged that he tried to hire a third party to intimidate the victim into silence.
Ahmed Tawfeeq, a 29-year-old Elgin resident, was found guilty in November of attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault after abusing a female passenger he picked up on June 16, 2017 while working for the rideshare service, the McHenry County state’s attorney’s office said in a release issued Monday. A judge on Friday sentenced Tawfeeq to five years in prison for a range of charges connected to the case and will serve two years of probation upon his release.
Tawfeeq was also slated to stand trial on Monday regarding allegations that, while in police custody, he covered bail for another man at McHenry County jail and offered to pay him $6,000 if he agreed to kidnap, assault, or threaten his accuser so that she wouldn’t testify against him, the Chicago Tribune reports. In court documents requesting that Tawfeeq’s bail be increased or revoked, prosecutors alleged that a third inmate reported that Tawfeeq asked him for a “favor” and confessed to him that he “raped a … girl in his Uber cab and that he needed someone to threaten the girl, kidnap her, or beat her so she wouldn’t testify,” according to the outlet.
He was then charged with harassment of a witness, a charge he was scheduled to face in court on Monday, per the Tribune. However, a jury trial never took place and the case was dismissed on Monday when the prosecution’s main witness, Daniel Flores — who initially told his story to police during a recorded interview — failed to appear, according to the Northwest Herald.
Another inmate, Bradley Lamkin, allegedly accepted Tawfeeq’s offer, but did not kidnap the woman and was not charged in relation to the case, the paper reports.
Prior to Tawfeeq’s sentencing on Friday, McHenry Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Ann Scholl, who had asked for an eight-year sentence, said that the victim still struggles with “flashbacks and nightmares” due to Tawfeeq’s actions, and that the “serious emotional distress” he inflicted only worsened with his attempt to hire a third party to “hurt or silence her,” according to the Tribune. Scholl also said that the results of a sex offender evaluation showed that Tawfeeq poses an “above average risk” to commit similar crimes.
Had he been convicted on Monday of harassing a witness, he would have likely been sentenced to between two and five years in prison, according to the Herald.
Tawfeeq picked up the unnamed woman at around 8:30 a.m. and, instead of driving her to her home in Prairie Grove, began making “unwanted sexual comments … including asking her if she had any interest in being a prostitute,” prosecutors said, according to the Tribune. Tawfeeq then turned off the Uber app while he drove the woman to a parking lot and sexually abused her, the paper reports.
Tawfeeq denied the allegations, with his lawyer, Brian Shields, claiming that the victim’s testimony was not credible and stating that his client’s actions “did not cause physical harm to anyone,” according to the paper. The judge denied their request for a new trial and instead noted a recorded conversation Tawfeeq had with the victim, during which he said that he didn't know why he abused her, calling it a “crazy moment … a stupid moment,” the paper reports.
Court documents obtained by the Tribune also show that Tawfeeq, while out on bond, was charged with domestic battery after allegedly pouring gasoline on a female relative and threatening to light her on fire. That case, filed in Kane County, is still pending.
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