Dallas Uber Driver Arrested For Sexual AssaultAugust 4, 2015
A driver with the ride-sharing service Uber was arrested in Dallas on suspicion of sexually assaulting a female passenger. The Uber driver, named as 56-year-old Talal Ali Chammout, has been charged with following the victim into her residence and sexually assaulting her after dropping her off. Mr. Chammout has been held in the Dallas County Jail pending the payment of his $100,000 bond. A spokesperson for the City of Dallas told reporters that this is the first case of sexual assault brought against an Uber driver since the service started in the city.
Details of the Uber Driver Allegations
The police reports stated that the Uber driver picked up his victim on July 25 at around 8 p.m. The Uber driver took her to her home, where she exited the vehicle and went inside. The driver then allegedly followed her into the residence without her permission. Police reports state that he sexually assaulted her and drove off shortly after. Mr. Chammout was arrested on July 29 and changed with sexual assault, a second-degree felony. If convicted, he could face up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Past Legal Issues Surround Uber Driver
The sexual assault allegations are not the first legal issues surrounding this specific Uber driver. Sana Syed, a spokesperson for the City of Dallas, told reporters that Mr. Chammout “was not permitted to be a driver” given his “lengthy criminal history.” In 1995, Mr. Chammout was convicted of assault in California. In 2006, he was arrested on charges of conspiring to possess stolen weapons from U.S. military bases. A raid on his California offices found 47 guns, along with night vision goggles, body armor, bulletproof vests and chemical protection bodysuits. He released from federal prison in August 2012.
Was Uber Driver Arming Terrorists?
The indictment against the Uber driver also revealed that he was under investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. FBI Special Agent Sonny Santiago stated that an informant met with Mr. Charmmout to buy five semi-automatic pistols from him for $1,000. Agent Santiago and his team found numerous firearms at his office, ranging from an AK-47 assault rifle to a TEC 9 pistol. Documents from earlier court cases also show the Uber driver as having “contacts with Iraq, Syria and Jordan for sale or providing weapons.”
Company Responds to Uber Driver Charges
The company’s web site states that every Uber driver “is thoroughly screened through a process that includes county, federal and multistate criminal background checks.” Officials with Uber released a statement saying that it will try to determine how Mr. Chammout passed their checks. The company also stated that it would conduct an internal review of its employment screening process. Ms. Syed told reporters that “we really need some more answers from Uber” as part of their criminal investigation.
Source: Plano Star Courier
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