Crime & Courts

Trial begins for Elgin Uber driver accused of sexually assaulting passenger

Ahmed Tawfeeq, 29, Elgin
Ahmed Tawfeeq, 29, Elgin

Trial began Monday for an Elgin man accused of bringing “every Uber user’s worst nightmare” to realization the day he allegedly sexually assaulted a passenger and offered to help her become a prostitute.

Ahmed Tawfeeq, a 29-year-old former Uber driver, began a trial by judge Monday in connection with a June 16, 2017, allegation that he sexually assaulted a passenger. Tawfeeq, of the 1100 block of Braeburn Drive, Elgin, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual abuse, aggravated battery, restraint and promoting prostitution. If convicted of the most serious offense, aggravated criminal sexual assault, he could be sentenced to between four and 15 years in prison.

The man’s attorney, Henry Sugden, said Monday that the state’s evidence only will prove that Tawfeeq picked up the woman while driving for Uber the morning on June 16, 2017. The allegations, Sugden said, were made after the woman learned that Tawfeeq “had money” from several business ventures on the side.

“She was setting up what she thought was an easy target,” Sugden said.

Officers with the Prairie Grove Police Department arrested Tawfeeq June 24, 2017, records show. The situation began days earlier, when the alleged victim got a ride to her parents’ house in Elgin after finishing an overnight shift at a casino in Elgin. From there, she ordered an Uber to take her back to her Crystal Lake town house.

Tawfeeq pulled up in a Toyota Yaris and the two began talking about their jobs. At one point during the conversation, Tawfeeq told the woman she should advertise herself online, she said.

“He said that he could help me get guys and he’d send me a code and then send them to me,” the woman said.

Before reaching the woman’s town home, Tawfeeq ended the route on the Uber app, pulled into a nearby parking space and grabbed the back of her head, the woman said. He went on to grope and sexually abuse the woman while she was buckled in the passenger’s seat, she said.

“I told him that I just want to go home and go to bed – ‘Please take me home,’ ” she said.

The next morning, the woman disclosed the alleged assault to her roommate, who called 911. Days later, the woman took part in a secretly recorded conversation while three members of the Prairie Grove Police Department listened in.

During the call, which was played in open court Monday, Tawfeeq apologized for the previous morning, calling it a “crazy moment,” and telling her “not to worry about it.

He also told the woman how to create accounts on at least one website where men would contact her for “dates.” He also said he would send men her way, and text her if he needed her.

“They look at your pictures and if they like you, they’ll text you,” Tawfeeq said during the recorded conversation.

The trial will pick back up Tuesday afternoon at the McHenry County courthouse.

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