At last week's WMATA Board meeting, Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said the agency's website inviting riders to complain about unwanted sexual conduct is getting results. According to Taborn, since going into operation earlier this year, the website has garnered about a quarter of the complaints regarding sleazy behavior on Metro. Police have concluded that, more than half the time, the inappropriate behavior has risen to the level of criminal conduct.
In July, Metro passengers began reporting a spate of incidents.
"[A man] exposed himself on the train to [an] individual," according to Transit Police Detective Erin Cooper. "She went to the station manager and reported it to him."
A similar incident happened again the next morning. That time the inappropriate behavior was reported via the anti-harassment website. Transit police started focusing on a suspect description, and casual-clothes detectives started riding trains in the area of the two incidents.
Then, two passengers aboard a train headed to National Airport station reported reported yet another incident of exposure. Officer Karen Valencia was on duty at that station: "I was able to stop the train, and I was able to stop a suspect that matched the description that was given me by dispatch."
While Officer Valencia detained the suspect, the detectives interviewed the complaining passengers, and talked them into making a field identification of the suspect.
48-year-old Robert Lee Scott, Jr., of Capitol Heights, Maryland was arrested and subsequently convicted; he is serving a four month sentence in the Arlington County jail. Scott is also facing charges in connection with at least one of the other incidents, which happened in D.C.
Chief Taborn told the Metro Board: information sent to the website helped close the case.
The detective -- and the officer who made the arrest -- got a round of applause from Metro Board members.