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A 27-year-old Omaha man accused of raping a woman he was driving to Lincoln by taxi after a Garth Brooks concert last May appeared in court Thursday.

Farah A. Diriye was arrested in Omaha Wednesday on a warrant after Douglas County prosecutors charged him Feb. 12 with first-degree sexual assault.

By Thursday night, Diriye posted bail and was released from the Douglas County jail on $250,000 bond.

His arrest comes almost 10 months after a 22-year-old woman reported a sexual assault to Lincoln police on May 9, according to a search warrant affidavit detailing the case.

Police here referred the case to the Nebraska State Patrol because of jurisdictional issues.

The woman told a state trooper she had gone out for drinks with friends in downtown Omaha after the May 8 concert, then decided to return to Lincoln because she wasn’t feeling well, according to an affidavit for a search warrant.

She hailed a nearby cab and agreed to pay $145 for the trip to her Lincoln apartment, the affidavit said.

The woman told police she fell asleep in the back seat and woke up at an unknown location to find the driver sexually assaulting her, the affidavit said.

Moments later, she said, she passed out again and later woke as the cab stopped in front of the gate to her north Lincoln apartment complex, the affidavit said.

Her roommate called police, and investigators took the woman to Bryan West Campus for a sexual assault exam.

Happy Cab confirmed to investigators that Diriye had driven the woman that night, according to the affidavit.

A patrol investigator interviewed him last summer, and Diriye said he remembered picking the woman up and taking her to Lincoln but denied having sexual contact with her.

But investigators said in the affidavit that the cab's electronic tablet -- used to track fares and routes -- had been shut off shortly after the woman was picked up and turned back on an hour later.

The company told investigators that shouldn't happen unless there are technical problems, and Diriye reported none while he was working May 8 and 9, the investigator wrote.

Diriye's next fare began about two hours after he picked up the Lincoln woman just before 12:30 a.m., according to the affidavit.

Happy Cab fired him after learning of the allegations, operations director John Davis said last summer. Before that, Davis said, the driver had been in good standing.

On Thursday, Diriye's attorney, Jeremy Jorgenson of Omaha, said his client maintains his innocence as he has from the beginning.

His client didn't stop for any reason between picking up the woman and dropping her off in Lincoln about 1:30 that morning, Jorgenson said in an interview.

Diriye told investigators that in an interview May 9, and he said he used a GPS application on his phone to provide directions to the woman's house, according to an affidavit for Diriye's arrest. 

That evidence, if it was preserved, will exonerate Diriye, Jorgenson said.

"From what my client has told me, we can’t wait to get our hands on the digital forensics,” he said.

It's unclear from either of the affidavits what DNA evidence testing in the case determined since neither of the affidavits mention it, Jorgenson said.

"They could have charged him nine months ago because it’s her story against his story," he said.

As a condition of Diriye's bond, a Douglas County judge ordered him not to have any contact with the woman.

If convicted, Diriye faces up to 50 years in prison.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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Reporter

Riley Johnson reports on breaking news and public safety issues in Lincoln and southeast Nebraska.

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