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Manassas Uber driver charged with abducting, sexually assaulting passenger

WASHINGTON — A Manassas, Virginia, Uber driver has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a woman who requested a ride over the weekend, Prince William County police said Tuesday.

Cristian Yovani Zelda Avalo, 37, was arrested Nov. 28. In addition to the sexual assault charge, Avalo is also charged with abduction with the intent to defile.

The 22-year-old woman told police she requested a ride through the ride-hailing service about 3 a.m. Saturday from a location in Manassas. During the ride to her home in Woodbridge, she said the driver held her down and sexually assaulted her.

She told police she was able to able to text an acquaintance to meet her at her home and when she arrived there, she was able to get away from the man.

The woman reported the assault Monday afternoon, and police said they identified the driver as Avalo.

“This report is appalling and our thoughts are with the rider during this difficult time,” an Uber spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “The driver has been removed from the app and we’ll work to help police in any way we can with their investigation.”

Last week, a 21-year-old woman reported being sexually assaulted by an Uber driver on the campus of American University in Northwest D.C. El houcine Jourhdaly, 36, of Springfield, Virginia, has been charged with first-degree sex abuse. Uber said Jourhdaly was not an active driver on the ride-hailing app after being permanently banned in 2015.


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