Ayman Aboueida, 47, of Kingston was arrested on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at around 5 p.m. and charged with the following; one count of forcible touching, a class A misdemeanor, one count of attempted forcible touching, a class B misdemeanor and one count of harassment second as a hate crime, a class B misdemeanor.
The investigation began on May 1 after several victims reported to the New Paltz Police Department (NPPD) that they were touched in a sexual manner by a specific cab driver; three separate instances were investigated.
“The investigation was initiated as soon as they came in,” said NPPD Lieutenant Robert Lucchesi.
One of the victims, who requested to remain anonymous, said that within her sorority alone other girls recounted similar experiences and they had decided together to go to the police station and give a statement.
The victim reported that the incident she was involved in occurred the night of her sorority’s formal when she was walking her friend back to campus. She said that Aboueida pulled up to them and offered them a free ride.
The girls accepted, got in the cab and when the victim’s friend was dropped off at her residence hall, Aboueida suggested to the victim that she move up to the front seat to see that her friend made it into her building safely.
The victim stated that Aboueida then offered to bring her back into town for free and requested that the victim give him oral sexual contact several times and began forcibly touching her. She stated that Aboueida continued to drive around, looking for a place to pull over and the victim got him to keep driving until he pulled over at a place in town where she was able to get away and find people she knew.
“It’s crazy, you would think a girl getting a taxi would be so much safer than walking home alone,” she said. “I think it’s really important that people know you can’t go anywhere by yourself.”
The cab driver was identified as Aboueida of Adam’s Taxi according to a press release by NPPD; they interviewed him and determined that the forcible touching occurred on April 30 at 1:30 a.m., the attempted forcible touching occurred on March 4 at 1:30 a.m. and the harassment as a hate crime occurred on Feb. 4 at 1 a.m.
“I’m thankful that the victims came forward and felt comfortable enough to approach us and I’m happy with the efforts our detectives and our officers made in order to identify this individual and make an arrest in this case,” Lucchesi said.
Female college students were involved in all three incidents, which occurred in the Village of New Paltz while inside a vehicle.
Aboueida was processed at the NPPD and arraigned in the New Paltz Court before Town Justice James Bacon at 7:45 p.m. He was remanded to the Ulster County Jail on $25,000 cash/$50,000 bond and is scheduled to reappear on Tuesday, May 23 at 6 p.m.
NPPD’s investigation is ongoing and any other potential victims should contact the NPPD Detective Division at 845-255-1357. All calls will be kept confidential.
Editor’s Note: Managing Editor Melanie Zerah contributed reporting.