Bus rape suspect had previous assault investigation, officials say
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.
The 20-year-old man arrested Friday on suspicion of raping a mentally disabled woman on a public transit bus has a criminal history and has been investigated in the past for sexual assault, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said.
Kerry Trotter, 20, was booked early Friday morning after the Sheriff's Department received a tip about his whereabouts late Thursday night as a result of media coverage of the alleged rape. He remained in jail with bail set at $1 million dollars.
Detectives interviewed Trotter, searched his home and found evidence to support allegations that he had raped an 18-year-old woman on a bus in Culver City.
"The good news is we have a predator with a long criminal history including sexual assault in custody," Sgt. Dan Scott said. "We want to thank the public for getting this predator off the streets.""It was a crime of opportunity," Scott said. "Unfortunately, (the victim) was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He followed her onto the bus and assaulted her."
Authorities said the suspect boarded the bus at La Cienega and Jefferson boulevards after 5 p.m. Wednesday at the same time as the woman. She found a seat at the back of the bus, and he followed her. Authorities say that without warning, he positioned himself between her legs and began sexually assaulting her over a 10-minute period.
Several passengers were on the bus when the suspect and the victim boarded, but some exited during the alleged assault.
One witness may have made attempts to alert the driver, Scott said, but it was the victim, on her way home from school, who informed the driver of the alleged rape after the suspect had exited.
Scott said it "seemed reasonable" that people on the bus would not have known what was happening as the incident occurred.
"The suspect had his back to the front of the bus," Scott said. "People generally think of a rape as some kind of attack where someone's thrown down. It's not always the case."
Scott said the woman did not scream. "The victim told our detective that she was shocked, and didn't know what to do, and was in fear of her safety and her life."
The suspect exited the bus at Sepulveda Boulevard and Slauson Avenue. The victim reported the alleged assault to the driver, who authorities believe "acted responsibly and reasonably for what he knew."
In the last couple of years, Trotter has been in and out of jail, according to law enforcement records. He received a 192-day suspended sentence after admitting to a probation violation for drug possession and was released Sept. 28.
He was arrested again Oct. 15 by Redondo Beach police for an unspecified offense. Jail records show he was sentenced and released 10 days later -- less than two weeks before the alleged rape.
[For the record, 5:25 p.m. Nov. 9: A previous headline on this post erroneously said the suspect had a previous sexual assault arrest.]
-- Sam Allen, Robert Faturechi and Richard Winton