Sex assault charge against former Uber driver dismissed, pleads to misdemeanor battery
Prosecutors dismissed a second-degree sexual assault charge Tuesday against a former Uber driver accused last year of raping a passenger, telling a judge that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the charge during a trial that was scheduled for next week.
Instead, Doteh A. Mensah, 37, of Middleton, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery, which he said occurred while having consensual sex with a passenger in his car on Nov. 24. Mensah, who faces up to nine months in jail for the battery conviction, will be sentenced on Wednesday by Dane County Circuit Judge Ellen Berz.
Mensah was charged in November with second-degree sexual assault and felony battery when a woman reported to police that she had been sexually assaulted in Mensah’s car after he drove her home from a Downtown bar. She said the incident left her with a broken nose, swollen eyes and bruises to her upper torso and arms.
The ride-hailing service banned Mensah after his arrest, and bail conditions barred him from working for any of its competitors.
In court Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Allison Cogbill said the case had “proof issues” because there was no DNA evidence to support the sexual assault charge and because the woman had injuries that predated her ride with Mensah that made it difficult to determine what injuries he inflicted upon her. She also said the woman had made inconsistent statements to police.
Mensah’s lawyer, state Assistant Public Defender Dorothea Watson, said there was also no evidence that the woman’s nose had been broken. She asked that Mensah be allowed to enter a no contest plea, instead of a guilty plea preferred by judges in Dane County, because she said it’s possible that the woman could sue Mensah and Uber. A no contest plea has the same legal effect as a guilty plea, but a defendant does not admit guilt by pleading no contest.