An Uber driver charged with raping a passenger earlier this month was able to walk free because officials failed to notify immigration agents about his arrest, authorities said.
Frederick Amfo, 30, an illegal immigrant from Ghana, was arrested after a female passenger said that on April 8 he forced her into the backseat of his car and raped her, police said. Hours after he was released from police custody, he fled to his native Ghana. He was supposed to surrender his passport but did not.
“A loss for words,” Emily Murray, the victim who insisted on being identified by the press, told Boston 25. “I was angry, I’m still angry. I’m confused.”
A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Boston 25 that a federal immigration detainer should have been placed on Amfo. Weymouth police claimed it forwarded the detainer to Quincy District Court.
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“The court chose not to forward the detainer to Norfolk County, allowing for his subsequent release on bail from custody,” the agency said in a statement. “This case highlights the potential dangers of policies that prohibit cooperation with ICE.”
The court told the Patriot Ledger that there was no record of an immigration detainer at the time of his arraignment.
A ruling last year made Massachusetts a sanctuary state – meaning illegal immigrants accused of a crime cannot be transferred to immigration officials.
Murray claims on April 8 she was trying to get home when Amfo allegedly locked the doors to his vehicle and sexually assaulted her in the backseat.
“Within minutes, I was in a situation I couldn’t control and I was assaulted,” she said.
Police said DNA collected from a rape kit and Amfo’s car led to his arrest days later.
Amfo was charged with sexual assault. On Friday, a Quincy District Court set bail at $10,000 and he was given a stay away order.
Court records show that Amfo was also given 24 hours to surrender his passport if he made bail. But he made bail later that afternoon without surrendering his passport.
Three days later, Murray was told that Amfo had fled to Ghana.
“If I went to Ghana and I committed a crime, I wouldn’t expect to be able to hop on plane and say sorry about that, here’s some money,” she said Tuesday. “I would expect to answer for it. Accountability. And there had been just zero.”
She told the Boston Herald that Amfo is a coward.
“He proclaims his innocence and then just leaves?” she said. “I feel hurt. … People get blamed for not coming forward and then get victimized more when they do.”
She said she doesn’t believe she will ever get justice.
“But I hope this shines a light and it won’t happen in the future,” she said, “because of me coming forward and me releasing my name and putting a face behind this whole situation.”