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Arizona rideshare driver charged with sexual assault of passenger

(Pinal County Sheriff's Office Mugshot)

PHOENIX – Police in a city just outside of Phoenix have arrested a rideshare driver on charges of sexual assault and kidnapping of a female passenger in his car, according to records.

Rayan Jarjes, a 44-year-old Lyft driver, was taken into custody by Maricopa police and booked into Pinal County Jail early Sunday.

ABC15 reported Jarjes picked up the woman from her friend’s home around 3:15 a.m.

A friend called police after the woman returned to her own house, the TV station said, adding that police pulled over Jarjes’ car over shortly afterward.

During the 9-mile trip, Jarjes allegedly fondled the sleeping woman, then got into the back seat, bit her lips, forced her to perform oral sex and slapped her, the Maricopa Monitor reported, based on the police report.

Jarjes also was charged with sex abuse. Bail was set Wednesday at $100,000.

His premliminary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

Other rideshare drivers have made headlines on similar charges.

A Seattle-area driver was arrested in April and charged with second-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping with sexual motivation in two attacks, one of them against an Arizona woman.

Ghassan Shakir was also suspected of three other sexual assaults since 2014 while employed by Lyft and Uber.

In January, a woman visiting Bellevue, Washington, from Arizona called a rideshare vehicle to take her to a Seattle hotel. After climbing into the vehicle she fell asleep, according to charging papers.

The woman woke up to find she had been handcuffed and Shakir groping her, charging papers said. She fought him until he removed the handcuffs and she escaped, papers said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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