Salt Lake County man allegedly sexually assaulted wheelchair-bound woman

Shafi Warsame Awale. Photo Courtesy: Salt Lake County

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Feb. 2, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A Salt Lake County man was arrested Friday after allegedly sexually assaulting a wheelchair-bound woman months earlier.

A probable cause statement from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake County said Shafi Warsame Awale, 32, is facing charges of:

  • Rape, a first-degree felony
  • Forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony
  • Possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor

The victim stated that she met a man online through a dating application, the probable cause statement said. The victim in this case was confined to a wheelchair.

She stated that on May 18 of last year the two met, the suspect drove her to an unknown location somewhere in Salt Lake County and parked in an apartment parking lot. He then raped her, she said.

After allegedly sexually assaulting the victim he dropped her off at a coffee shop in Salt Lake City, the statement said. Video surveillance shows the suspect dropping the victim off.

On Jan. 31, the suspect was interviewed and after being read his Miranda rights he denied ever having met the victim.

“He stated he had never met a woman online,” the statement said. “He was shown a surveillance photograph and he said that the photograph was of him. This photograph was from the coffee shop when the victim was dropped off. During the interview the suspect provided his phone number.” This was the same number provided by the victim in the initial report and follow-up interview.

The suspect was transported to Salt Lake County Jail. During the jail intake search he was found to have methamphetamine and suspected heroin concealed in the back of his phone.

Awale’s bail is set at $100,000.


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