Rape on bus the third this year; ‘very uncommon,’ MTA says
This post has been corrected, as noted below.
Officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority described the rape of an 18-year-old mentally disabled woman on a bus in Culver City as "tragic," but extremely rare.
Every year, there are more than 350 million boardings systemwide on buses, MTA spokesman Marc Littman said. This is the third rape that has been reported on a bus this year. A fourth rape was reported at Union Station.
"It's very tragic when it happens, but it is very uncommon," Littman said.
The attack took place on the near-empty 217 bus in Culver City just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Authorities said both the victim and suspect boarded the bus in Culver City at La Cienega and Jefferson boulevards.
She found a seat at the back of the bus, and the man followed her. Authorities say that without warning the man positioned himself between her legs and began sexually assaulting her over a 10-minute period.
"During the rape, an unknown witness, the only passenger on the bus, attempted to get the driver's attention," the Sheriff's Department said in a statement.
The suspect then exited the bus at Sepulveda Boulevard and Slauson Avenue.
The victim reported the attack to the driver after the suspect was gone, authorities said.
MTA officials could not say yet whether 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.
Detectives described the attacker as a black man between 18 and 20 years old. He is 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall with short-cropped hair and was wearing jeans and a hooded sweatshirt with narrow horizontal stripes, authorities said.
Detectives were also seeking the witness. Anyone with information is asked to call authorities at (866) 247-5877. Anonymous tipsters can call (800) 222-8477.
[For the Record, 10:25 a.m. Nov. 9: An earlier version of this online post misspelled MTA spokesman Marc Littman's name as Lippman.]
-- Robert Faturechi