By Mary Wisniewski
Chicago (Reuters) - For the second time in just over two weeks, Chicago-area prosecutors have charged a driver for the ride-sharing company Uber with sexually assaulting a passenger.
Adnan Nafasat, 46, was driving for Uber when the alleged assault happened on July 31, Lisa Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State's Attorney's office, said on Thursday.
Gordon said Nafasat asked the 21-year-old male passenger to sit in the front seat because the back seat was broken.
Nafasat, who Gordon said outweighed the passenger by 130 pounds, drove the man to an unfamiliar neighborhood. He grabbed him around the throat to keep him from leaving the car and tried to force man to commit a sexual act, Gordon said.
The victim begged to be released and Nafasat drove him to the address he requested, Gordon said.
Nafasat was charged on Wednesday with criminal sexual assault, unlawful restraint and kidnapping and will appear in court on Feb. 3. Gordon said Nafasat, who admitted to touching the victim through the victim's clothing and exposing himself, was ordered held on a $150,000 bond.
Uber spokeswoman Jennifer Mullin was not immediately available for comment. She told the Chicago Tribune that Nafasat was immediately removed when the incident came to light and the company was working with authorities.
Another Uber driver was charged in late December with sexual assault following an attack on a female passenger.
Neither of the drivers is still with Uber.
The ride-sharing company has been under increasing scrutiny in the United States and other countries because of passenger safety issues. The district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles said last month they had filed a lawsuit against Uber for misleading customers about its background checks on drivers.
In India's capital New Delhi, Uber and other taxi firms will have to install panic buttons to operate under new rules framed after allegations that a driver raped a passenger.
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; additional reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Bill Trott)