Cab driver accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting passenger gets probation

Tarek Masri | Chicago Police Department

A cab driver who was accused of kidnapping a female passenger in Chicago and then sexually assaulting her pleaded guilty this week to one count of criminal sexual abuse causing bodily harm in exchange for a sentence of two years of probation, according to court records.

Prosecutors dropped five Class X felony charges in their deal with Tarek Masri, including multiple counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Masri, now 59, was arrested at his Joliet home in 2018 after DNA material generated a hit in the sexual assault, which occurred three years earlier, police said.

Early on June 13, 2015, the then 23-year-old victim went out with friends to celebrate her passing the Certified Public Accountant exam, prosecutors said during Masri’s initial bail hearing. At the end of the night, the victim and other women took Masri’s cab to one of the women’s homes in Ravenswood. However, the victim told friends that she preferred to sleep in her own bed, and she asked Masri to drive her home.

The victim fell asleep in the cab’s back seat, and one of the victim’s friends wrote down Masri’s taxi number as the cab drove away, prosecutors said in 2018.

Prosecutors said Masri drove the victim for three hours around Ravenswood, Lincoln Park, and Lakeview. Then, they alleged, he stopped his taxi in the 2600 block of North Paulina in Lincoln Park and sexually assaulted the woman while she was asleep in the back seat. He later dropped the victim off near her Lakeview apartment building.

The stories told by the victim and her friends were confirmed via GPS records, but the case remained open for years. On March 16, 2017, Masri was arrested near O’Hare for traffic violations and driving on a suspended license. Police asked him to provide a DNA sample voluntarily, and he agreed.

Prosecutors filed charges after the test came back in 2018.

Judge Neera Walsh oversaw the case and handed down Masri’s sentence on Monday. She ordered him to register as a sex offender and submit his DNA for indexing.

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