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Iowa Uber driver charged with sexual assault of passenger

IOWA CITY, Iowa – An Uber driver has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman who was getting a ride from downtown Iowa City to her home last October.

Television station KCRG reports that 37-year-old Ali Alshiek has been charged with third-degree sexual abuse, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Police say a woman reported that Alshiek picked her up for what should have been an 8-minute ride, but took a longer, indirect route and forcibly assaulted her while she was in the car. Police say that Alshiek has denied the accusation, but DNA evidence gathered during a rape examination at a local hospital implicates him.

Uber has been dogged by reports of drivers accosting passengers since it began operating in 2009. It recently announced plans for annual criminal background checks on U.S. drivers.