Sexual assault charges dropped against Uber driver Maxime Fohounhedo

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sexual assault charges were dropped against Uber driver Maxime Fohounhedo, 33, after prosecutors heard a nine-minute audio recording made the night of the alleged attack. Fohounhedo's defense attorney said the recording indicates contact between his client and a female passenger was consensual.

The 22-year-old passenger who accused Fohounhedo of sexual assault is clearly heard talking throughout the recording, according to the defense attorney. She is heard sharing information and laughing, according to the attorney, and is not asleep or blacked out as she said.

The passenger told police in November 2014 she summoned Fohounhedo for a ride through Uber X and then blacked out in the car. She told police she woke up in a Ravenswood apartment, where she was sexually assaulted.

Fohounhedo, who has been jailed since his December 2014 arrest, was released Monday evening. According to his attorney, he had no criminal background. He is a college graduate from Benin who came to the U.S. to work and continue his studies.

Fohounhedo's wife of two years, Sheena Fohounhedo, said she is grateful that he will have his freedom restored. She said they will need to work to get past this incident, but that once Fohounhedo is home and free they can try to rebuild their lives.

"It's very emotional, I've been very emotional the whole time," Sheena said, "I'll just say that I really thank God for the truth coming out."

Fohounhedo's arrest brought to light more questions about Uber's background checks and safety regulations. He was driving under his wife's profile, which Uber said is not allowed.

Uber has not commented on the dismissal of charges. The Cook County State's Attorney's office issued a statement Monday afternoon that says, "The case was charged in good faith based upon the accounting provided by the complaining witness as well as physical evidence. After the charges were approved, new evidence was brought to the attention of the State's Attorney's Office. This new evidence was thoroughly reviewed and authenticated and after consultation with the complaining witness the charges were dismissed today."
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