It’s not every day that our hunches end up on the front page of the Washington Post. Color us shocked when we read the headlines “News of Metro Rapes Delayed.” Wait, weren’t we just campaigning for more transparency from our public transit authorities?
Metro spokeswoman Cathy Asato said on Tuesday that the police deliberately withheld information on two assaults that occurred in the parking garage of Largo Town Center in February as they searched for suspects.
Wait, did Asato say two assaults? TWO?! Wouldn’t you want the public to know about this vital information? Wouldn’t YOU want to know if there was a rape, or even an attempted rape, in the place you parked your car? It makes common sense. So what’s the real reason, WMATA?
Peter Benjamin, chairman of Metro’s board of directors, said information on the attacks “got lost in the shuffle” during the February snowstorms.
Eeks! Lost in the shuffle of the snow storm? Snotorious BIG was a big deal. We get that. But so are rapes that are happening in the same location by the same suspect. Maybe if the victim was Mr. Benjamin’s female relative he wouldn’t have taken this issue so lightly. ARGH.
The suspect, Jonathan David Duffy, was charged with approaching a woman when she returned to her gold Honda Accord in the Largo Town Center station garage on Feb. 5, threatening her with a gun, taking her vehicle and raping her, according to Metro.
Metro Transit Police detectives investigating the crime returned to the scene on Feb. 11, spotted the stolen car and arrested Duffy when he returned to the vehicle, according to court documents. Duffy was found with a missing 13-year-old girl and was also charged with kidnapping and raping her, according to court documents. (emphasis added)
By withholding information, WMATA allowed a rapist to go around Largo area and hurt not two victims, but their families, and potentially other victims who haven’t come forward. This is absurd.
Now we understand that police generally don’t like to share information about a pending investigation for fears it will tip off the perpetrator(s). But not informing the public of sexual crimes occurring on PUBLIC property is negligent behavior. One passenger interviewed for the article stated:
“You’d come in and nobody was around,” she said. “Walking down the stairwell was not a good thing.”
The Examiner wrote that “the reported carjackings, robberies and sexual assaults have occurred in 16 Metrorail parking facilities, at least eight of which have no security cameras.” (emphasis added) Think about the unreported sexual assaults happening on the public transit system. This is why it is important you Holla Back DC! The more we can capture that these crimes are occurring on the public transit system (and elsewhere), the better chance we have of changing the system. Submit your experiences here.
Le sigh. Even if there were more cameras would that make people feel safe? Or is there a need for a culture shift at WMATA? With a new General Manager coming in to the seat, the time is NOW for WMATA to address public sexual harassment and assault.