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Driver of MBTA bus held on bail after alleged kidnapping, sex assault of passenger

An MBTA bus travels along Meridian Street in East Boston.
An MBTA bus travels along Meridian Street in East Boston.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

A 45-year-old Revere man was held on $10,000 bail Tuesday after he allegedly kidnapped and assaulted a female passenger aboard the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus he was driving on Saturday, Suffolk County prosecutors said.

Ali Ennab, an MBTA contract driver, was arraigned in East Boston District Court Tuesday on charges of kidnapping, assault to rape, and indecent assault and battery after he allegedly trapped a woman on the bus after she missed her stop and became the only passenger aboard, according to the office of Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins.

Judge John E. McDonald Jr. ordered Ennab held on bail with a number of conditions — including the surrender of his passport, discontinuing his work as a bus driver, submitting to GPS tracking, and home confinement. Ennab was arrested Monday, Matthew Brelis, a Rollins spokesman said.

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The woman boarded the bus around 7:20 p.m. Saturday in Orient Heights and missed her stop while talking on the phone, prosecutors said. The woman, who does not speak English, then told the driver via a translator app to return to her stop but he allegedly refused — instead stopping the bus near a beach in Winthrop. Prosecutors allege Ennab then turned the bus off, got up, and put his arm around the woman after sitting down next to her.

Ennab then allegedly pulled the woman toward him, kissed her on the cheek, and told her he could get her a green card. Prosecutors say the woman told Ennab she has a husband and doesn’t need a green card and again asked to be let off the bus but he allegedly refused. Ennab then asked the woman for her phone number and she called herself from his cellphone in case anything happened to her. He then began eating his dinner on the bus, prosecutors said.

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Ennab started the bus after he ate and the woman got up from her seat in an attempt to leave the bus, prosecutors said. He then stopped the bus again and allegedly lunged at her — ripping off her mask, kissing her face, groping her body, and putting his hand down her pants. Despite repeated pleas from the woman, Ennab refused to stop, prosecutors said.

In an audio recording taken by the woman, she can be heard begging Ennab to stop and open the door in Spanish while he continues assaulting her. He allegedly told her “me, I’m boyfriend for you, it’s okay,” prosecutors said.

The alleged assault ended when an unidentified woman walked in front of the bus, causing Ennab to open the doors.

“To state the obvious: A woman should be able to ride a public bus without fear of kidnap and sexual assault. Women, just like all people, have the right to not be harassed, violated, harmed, or objectified,” Rollins said in a statement. “The allegations outlined in this case are deeply disturbing.”

Paul Revere Transportation, the company that employs Ennab as a contract driver, wrote in a statement that it was “shaken to learn about the allegations against an on-duty operator that were reported on Saturday, April 24th. Our hearts go out to the alleged victim in this matter.”

The company is cooperating with authorities, the statement said, and has suspended Ennab.

“These disturbing allegations are abhorrent and intolerable,” Lisa Battiston, an MBTA spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The MBTA is cooperating fully with law enforcement personnel, including Transit Police and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. This individual will no longer operate a bus for the MBTA.”

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The Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589 condemned the alleged assault in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

“An attack like this violates the public trust and should never have happened,” the statement said. “This recent incident is not emblematic of the rigorous standards that our union MBTA drivers uphold to protect their communities.”

The driver is not a member of the union, the statement said.

“We look forward to justice being served and will continue to assure our riders that MBTA drivers and operators are committed to maintaining high standards for a safe and welcoming environment,” the statement said.

Correspondent Andrew Stanton contributed to this story.

Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.