Authorities have arrested the suspect who allegedly raped an 18-year-old disabled woman - with the mental capacity of a 10-year old - on a LA city bus last week.
The attack occurred at the rear of a near-empty bus just after 5:00 PM Wednesday evening and went unnoticed by the driver. The victim found a seat at the back of the bus, the man followed her, and then without warning positioned himself between her legs and began sexually assaulting her over a 10-minute period.
During the attack, an unknown witness attempted to get the driver’s attention, but was unsuccessful.
Ultimately, the attacker excited the bus before the driver became aware of the assault. The victim reported the attack after the attacker was gone.
During the investigation, “The victim told our detective that she was shocked and didn’t know what to do and was in fear for her safety and for her life,’’ said Sgt. Dan Scott of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are calling the attack tragic, but extremely rare. MTA spokesman Marc Littman said every year there are more than 350 million bus boardings. This is the third rape reported on a bus this year, while a fourth rape was reported at Union Station.
At this point it is unknown whether or not the bus driver followed protocol. Littman said that in general, when there's a report of a serious crime taking place, drivers are required to contact dispatchers, who alert the Sheriff's Department. Drivers can also set off a silent alarm.
The suspect has been booked for investigation of rape and being held on $1 million bail, authorities said. Police were able to track down the suspect with the help of video surveillance.
It is evident that the suspect also had a criminal history prior to this attack. He is unemployed and has convictions for grand theft and possession of rock cocaine. He was also previously booked for sexual assault, but no charges were filed.
Whether this is a rare occurrence or not, this situation is truly tragic and there should be further investigations of the driver.
This situation speaks to another social issue within our communities: the absence of bystander intervention. It is extremely disheartening that there were witnesses on the bus, but no one was courageous enough to bring attention to this situation. It has been said that one witness attempted to get the driver’s attention, but exited the bus after an unsuccessful attempt. The outcome of this situation may have been different if someone had spoke up against the horrific crime being witnessed. When Police are not around, bystander intervention is important because everyone must play a role in combating violence against women.