Minneapolis Man Accused of Raping Woman on Bus Heading to North Dakota

December 13, 2016 06:58 PM

A Minneapolis man has been charged after a woman said he raped her in the back of a bus.

Officers were called to the University of Minnesota–Crookston on Friday, Dec. 9, on a report of an assault on a Jefferson Lines bus.

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Police arrived at the scene as the bus started leaving but stopped the bus. Four people were on the bus, not including the driver, according to the criminal complaint: a man near the front of the bus, a man in the middle of the bus and a woman and her daughter. The man in the middle of the bus identified himself as 22-year-old Mohamed Harir Ayanle of Minneapolis.

Police did a search but say they found no weapons.

Ayanle told police that he got on the bus in Minneapolis and was on his way to Grand Forks, North Dakota. Police told him the woman had reported “some sort of sexual assault involving a knife,” according to the criminal complaint.

In an interview with police, the woman said she and her 7-year-old daughter got on the bus in Minneapolis and were also heading to Grand Forks. She said she didn’t know the suspect but that he approached her after the Bemidji stop and asked her to go to the back of the bus with him to watch a movie on his cellphone because her daughter was sleeping.

The woman said she agreed because the man said “he had something,” which the woman believed meant he had a knife. The charges didn't explain why she thought he had a knife.

Once in the back of the bus, the woman said the man raped her. She said he then told her to go back to her seat. The woman said she didn’t consent to having sex with him and was afraid he had a knife, according to the complaint.

Police then spoke with Ayanle again, who said the sex was consensual and that he never threatened the woman with a weapon or any words of violence, according to the criminal complaint. He also said the woman talked to him first and asked to use his phone because hers didn’t work. He said she initiated sitting next to him, initiated going to the back of the bus and initiated sex.

Neither the bus driver nor the other passenger on the bus witnessed the man and woman going to the back of the bus, according to the complaint.

Ayanle was arrested and has been charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and $40,000 in fines on the first-degree charge and up to 15 years in prison and $30,000 in fines on the third-degree charge.

His next court appearance is Jan. 3.


Jennie Lissarrague

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