Egged driver convicted of indecent assault of girl

Driver also convicted of falsely imprisoning 17-year-old girl on bus.

Egged bus 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Egged bus 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The Haifa District Court on Monday convicted a 42-yearold man from Kafr Manda in the Western Galilee on charges of indecent assault and false imprisonment, following an incident that took place on a bus in July 2010.
Egged bus driver Muhammad Zuabi assaulted a 17-year-old schoolgirl after she boarded his route 205 bus in Haifa, according to the indictment.
The girl asked Zuabi whether he could stop the bus for her in the Mercaz Hacarmel residential district of the city, where she could switch to another bus line to take her home. There was only one other passenger on the bus at the time, the indictment said.
However, when Zuabi reached the girl’s bus stop, he did not stop to let her disembark and drove on to the next stop, where the other passenger got off.
Zuabi then told the girl she was “beautiful,” the indictment said, and added that he had noticed how she had kissed her boyfriend at the bus stop.
According to the indictment, Zuabi then stopped the bus and sat down on a passenger seat, asking the girl to join him.
When she refused, Zuabi indecently assaulted her. Only after some time did he drive back to the girl’s neighborhood.
Judge Zaid Falah accepted the testimony of the complainant, and rejected that of Zuabi, who denied the charges against him. Zuabi’s testimony made “a bad impression [on the court],” the judge said.
Zuabi testified that when he missed the girl’s stop, she began shouting and swearing at him until he opened the bus doors. The girl then refused to disembark, so he drove on.
The girl told him she was too frightened to get off the bus, Zuabi said, and asked him to take her back to Ben-Gurion Street. He then offered to pay for a taxi for her.
He denied touching or kissing the girl.
Zuabi will be sentenced at a later date.
Following Zuabi’s conviction, Egged spokesman Ron Ratner said the driver had already been dismissed.
“At Egged, we will not tolerate these types of events, and so when we learned that the driver was summoned to a hearing and when we discovered the allegations against him had substance, he was immediately dismissed from his job,” Ratner said.