An Uber driver accused of raping a 21-year-old woman last year after picking her up from a bar in Orange County appeared in court Thursday, and prosecutors said there may be more victims.
Omar Mahmoud Mousa, 52, of Anaheim, was arrested last week and charged with one felony count of forcible rape, one felony count of forcible oral copulation, and one felony count of sexual penetration by foreign object and force, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office. If convicted, Mousa faces a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison.
Prosecutors said on the evening of Oct. 24, 2015, Mousa picked up a 21-year-old woman and her female friend at a motel in Anaheim and drove them to a bar in Fullerton, through Uber.
Mousa then allegedly gave the women his business card and asked them to call him directly instead of using the Uber driving service, a break with the service's protocol.
After picking up both women from the bar in Fullerton early the next morning, Mousa walked the women into their motel room in Anaheim where the victim’s friend immediately passed out on the bed, prosecutors said.
While the victim was intoxicated, Mousa placed her on the same bed, and forcibly raped her, according to the OCDA. After the woman managed to push him away, Mousa left the motel room and drove away.
The woman reported the crime later that day to the Anaheim Police Department.
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Mousa told police he was helping the women up the stairs to their room because they were drunk and one of the women passed out.
The incident comes amid growing concern over the safety of Uber and other app-based ride-hailing services.
On Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Herb Wesson submitted a joint letter asking the California Public Utilities Commission to allow the city to implement a pilot program that would require fingerprinting for charter and company drivers, including limos, shuttle services, Uber and Lyft.
Charges against Mousa were filed in January. He was arrested last week at LAX after returning to the country. Mousa is being held on $100,000 bail. He did not enter a plea during his Thursday court appearance.
Uber issued this written statement: "Uber has a zero-tolerance policy for violent behavior, and our thoughts are with the victim of this atrocious crime. We immediately blocked this individual's access to the Uber platform upon learning of this incident and actively assisted law enforcement in their investigation."
The Orange County District Attorney's Office is seeking the public's help identifying potential additional victims in the case.
Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is asked to call Supervising District Attorney Investigator Mark Gutierrez at (714) 347-8794.