A 43-year-old Lyft driver from Peoria who is accused of sexually assaulting a passenger in Maricopa had a preliminary hearing Tuesday. Rayan Jarjes is scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court on Friday and remains in jail on a $100,000 bond.
In arresting him Sunday morning, Maricopa Police had suggested charges of sexual abuse, kidnapping and sexual assault. Pinal County Attorney’s Office has set the charges at three counts of sexual assault.
Jarjes’ LinkedIn account lists him as a chemist at a Glendale company. His wife was out of the country when the incident occurred.
According to the MPD report, the alleged victim had been drinking with several friends at a local bar before going to a friend’s house. However, she soon called for a Lyft driver to take her to her home nine miles away at around 2:45 a.m. Sunday.
She later told police Jarjes twice stopped the vehicle on the way and got into the back seat with her to force himself on her. She said he sexually assaulted her both while stopped and while he was driving after she tried to lie down to sleep. She said she also believed he took photos of her with his phone.
A friend of the alleged victim called MPD at around 4:25 a.m. Police took down a description of the driver and his vehicle. Reportedly matching both descriptions, Jarjes and his black Kia Optima were pulled over by MPD on Smith-Enke Road. Officers noted when he exited the vehicle his pants were not zipped.
Jarjes was arrested at 5:21 a.m. and his vehicle and cell phone were seized by MPD as evidence. He was interviewed at the department around 9:30 a.m. According to MPD, he initially denied the woman’s allegations but then confirmed sexual contact. However, he claimed it was her idea and said she threatened to call the police if he did not comply.
Jarjes’ previous court record in Arizona is a speeding ticket. According to the MPD report, he has driven for Lyft seven years. MPD described him as a flight risk because he is “a recent immigrant from Iraq” and his wife and children were visiting in Syria at the time of his arrest.