IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- An Uber driver has been charged after allegedly sexually abusing a woman who was getting a ride from downtown Iowa City to her home on October 7, 2017.
Documents say the victim sat in the front passenger seat to take the eight-minute Uber ride in 37-year-old Ali Alsheik's vehicle.
Uber records and GPS information shows Alsheik drove an indirect route and stopped along the way with the victim inside the vehicle.
During the ride, the victim was in Alsheik's car for about 30 minutes. The victim said she was sexually assaulted by force and against her will during the ride.
Hours after the assault, the victim was examined at a local hospital and a sexual assault kit was completed.
Alsheik told authorities he didn't have any sexual contact with the victim and blamed her for trying to initiate sexual contact with him. Alsheik told investigators he refused the sexual advances by the victim and drove her home.
DNA tests from the victim's sexual assault kit, Alsheik, and the front passenger seat found the victim and Alsheik were involved in the incident.
Alsheik has been charged with 3rd Degree Sexual Abuse.
Marion police officer Tom Daubs says there are a number of things you can do to make sure you get home safely when using a ride-share.
The first thing you should always do is make sure the car you are getting to is actually your real Uber. This means you should ask them who they are picking up, and verifying through the app that the make and model of the car are correct.
Daubs says if you can, always try to ride with multiple people because there's safety in numbers. But he says if you have to go it alone, have your phone ready to dial a friend.
"By all means if you can like re-dial someone you just called 'hey I'm getting in the car with an Uber driver, it's a black Ford Mustang, we just pulled up,' and then keep that redial. If something does happen, you can hit the button as you're talking to the driver maybe giving out some kind of clues as to where you're at," Daubs said.
He says if you feel unsafe or are being sexually harassed or assaulted during your ride, it's important to collect as much evidence as possible. This means using your phone to record anything you can, or remembering features of the driver.