Hezam is a cab driver in Durham, NC.
News reports say he picked up Duke University students near a downtown bar. Hezam contends the woman left her cell phone in his cab and that he held her "to give back her phone."
The accused has been in the United States for about three years. He is married with four small children.
The incident pits two victims groups -- women and immigrants -- against each other. It was reported August 21, 2015.
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The details of a criminal case are rarely discussed during a suspect's first court appearance, but friends of a taxi driver accused of inappropriately touching a Duke University student are coming to his defense.
"I know Mr. Hezam," said one man as he spoke to the judge through a courtroom microphone separated by a glass window at the Durham County jail. "I don't think he did it."
Ahmad Hezam, 45, of Durham is charged with second degree sexual offense, a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of 227 months in prison if convicted. Duke campus police arrested Hezam at his apartment on Morrene Road.
"We are grateful for the community's quick response to provide critical information in the investigation," said Kyle Cavanaugh, Duke University vice president for administration. "Because of this information, we were able to make an arrest within 24 hours of the incident."
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