MPD: Woman sexually assaulted by Lyft driver

Hassen Ahmed
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)--- A downtown Madison resident was sexually assaulted by a Lyft driver inside her apartment early Sunday morning.

Joel Despain, a spokesperson with the Madison Police Department, said the 25-year-old woman had just gotten a ride from the driver. He gained access to her Langdon Street apartment just before 2 a.m. He claimed he needed to use the bathroom.

"He was very pushy," said Despain.

Despain said following the assault, the woman contacted police immediately and provided information that led to the suspect being found. Despain said he was still driving in the area and was arrested after a traffic stop.

28-year-old Hassen A. Ahmed of Madison was arrested for two counts of second degree sexual assault.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said this isn't the first time there has been an assault by the driver of a ride sharing app. Soglin said he wished cities could do more to regulate the industry.

"Right now our hands our tied...The state took over that area and specifically said, 'We the City of Madison cannot use our safety standards to regulate these vehicles," said Soglin.

Since 2015 ride share apps have been regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. The decision for WDSPS to regulate the service was apart of a law signed in 2015, which also said drivers would submit findings from criminal background checks to their companies but not the cities they're driving in.

We left a message with WDSPS for comment and have no heard back.

We also reached out to Lyft who sent us the following statement:

“The allegations described are deeply disturbing. The safety of our community is our number one priority and we have absolutely no tolerance for this behavior on the platform. Upon learning of the incident, we immediately deactivated the driver and reached out to the passenger to offer our support. We stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation."

The company also added it reruns background checks annually.