VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The rape charge against a former Uber driver was dismissed Monday morning in a Virginia Beach courtroom.
Thirty-four-year-old Sewanou Yoro was accused of attacking a 19-year-old high school student in March. Police say the alleged attack happened in the Bay Colony neighborhood.
The case was sent to a grand jury in May, and was continued in August.
“It was very horrible,” said Yoro.
For the first time in seven months, Yoro left the Virginia Beach courthouse with a different outlook. “I spent six months in jail, which was very hard for me,” Yoro added.
Yoro was charged with rape back in March when he was working as an Uber driver. One of his passengers, a 19-year-old, claimed he sexually assaulted her. He told police from the start there was sexual contact between the two, but that it was consensual.
“When I was in the police car, I didn’t have any idea why they picked me up from my house,” he said.
Yoro is from Benin in west Africa. After moving to United States, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
He was nearing graduation at ODU, but spent six months in jail.
“Jail was a difficult place to be for me and I never been in a place like this, and it broke me down very badly,” Yoro added.
Yoro’s public defender Bassel Khalaf continued to investigate the case, and thought something wasn’t right with the 19-year-old’s statements.
“New evidence came up and we presented it to the (Virginia Beach) Commonwealth Attorney’s Office,” Khalaf said.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office announced Monday that while re-interviewing witnesses for the trial “some issues were brought to light that called into question the credibility of our evidence.”
As a result, the Commonwealth decided to dismiss the charge during Monday’s Circuit Court hearing. A gag order won’t allow anyone to talk about the new evidence.
Yoro is now looking toward the future and working to get his good name back.
“We can’t just call Google and say please take all this stuff down,” Khalaf added. “There is no doubt this is a massive issue.”
Yoro tells 10 On Your Side he plans to have his charge expunged. He also is hoping to get back to class at ODU and complete his degree.