May 3, 2018 | 11:52am
Raheel Bin HanifOakland County Sheriffs Office
A Lyft driver in Michigan sexually assaulted a female passenger after offering her $1,000 for sex, authorities said.
Raheel Bin Hanif, 24, of Waterford Township, told the woman during a ride in Pontiac on April 24 that he owned a health spa and would pay her $400 if she let him massage her and complete a subsequent survey on his services, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
Hanif also encouraged the woman — who had previously used Hanif as a driver on the ridesharing platform — to drink from an open container of Four Loko during the ride. Hanif then arrived at the purported spa, where the victim said she felt as if she was “buzzed” after drinking the alcoholic malt beverage. After the massage ended, Hanif then offered her $1,000 in exchange for sex, which the woman refused before being sexually assaulted. Hanif then drove her back to her home, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
“We will never tolerate behavior from those who commit sexual violence,” Bouchard said in a statement. “This is a reminder to review some of the newest safety features included in apps such as Uber and Lyft, which allow you to send your location to friends and family and call for emergency help quickly.”
Hanif was arrested a day after the alleged assault and was later arraigned on three counts of third-degree criminal sexual contact. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Hanif, who remains jailed on $750,000 cash surety bond, is due back in court on Monday.
Investigators are now looking into whether Hanif has been involved in other assaults. He was listed as a possible suspect in another sexual assault in December, but there wasn’t enough evidence to obtain a warrant at the time, Bouchard said.
Anyone with information about Hanif is asked to contact authorities at (248) 858-4911.
Hanif’s arrest comes after a CNN report last month found that at least 103 Uber drivers and 18 Lyft drivers have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in the last four years.
“You are pretty much hitchhiking with strangers,” one woman from Miami told CNN. “How many people is it going to take to get assaulted before something is done?”
Hanif was “immediately deactivated” after Lyft officials learned of the alleged assault, which occurred off the company’s platform, spokeswoman Kate Margolis told The Post in a statement Thursday. The incident is now being investigated internally and the company will work with investigators, she said.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing, and are completely unacceptable,” Margolis said. “From day one, the safety of the Lyft community has been our number one priority.”