Yellow Cab says sexual assault on passenger is "isolated"

by: David Ham Updated:

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SEATTLE - KIRO 7 asked the general manager of Yellow Cab in Seattle if passengers should be worried that a driver was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a female passenger in his cab.

"This is an isolated incident. We have another 2,000, maybe even 3,000, including part-time drivers with Yellow Cab," said Amin Shifow, general manager at Yellow Cab.

 Hassan Allaleh is in the King County Jail on $100,000 bail. Prosecutors said he should "not be allowed to continue driving female passengers in his cab as he poses a risk to their safety."

A 22-year-old woman said on June 7 she hailed a cab that Allaleh was driving on Capitol Hill. She said when she arrived in front of her apartment in the U-District he made sexual advances toward her and touched her.

According to court documents the victim said that Allaleh tried to "pry open her legs" and he stuck his hands up her shirt. Detectives went on to say that Allaleh also tried to turn the camera inside the cab upwards to hide what happened.

Negendo Kiambuthi lives nearby and said she had a similar experience with a Yellow Cab driver recently.

"I handed him the money and he grabbed my hand, and drew me closer and let come upstairs," said Kiambuthi.

In November Seattle police were also called to a similar incident where a female passenger said Allaleh tried to touch her inappropriately, but they did not recommend charges because they could not locate a victim for the report. Shifow said he didn't hear about that incident because Allaleh wasn't charged.

 KIRO 7 asked city officials in charge of regulating taxi cabs if there were any previous complaints on Allaleh. Denise Movius, the city's director of Revenue and Consumer Affairs division, said there are not any complaints on record. She added, "Currently, a driver must be convicted before his Seattle for-hire driver license or Seattle taxicab license may be revoked.  The standards for license revocation and denial are in SMC 6.310."

Even if Allaleh bails out of the King County Jail, Yellow Cab says that he will not be driving a cab.

"He's not going to be Yellow Cab until his case is resolved," said Shifow.

He hopes the incident doesn't impact the company's reputation.

 "Most of the drivers we have are family guys and they're just trying to take care of their families," said Shifow.

Allaleh will arraigned on July 17 at the King County Courthouse.

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