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Mentally disabled woman sexually assaulted on bus in Culver City

November 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The search is on for a man believed to have sexually assaulted an 18-year-old mentally disabled woman on an MTA bus in Culver City.

The sexual assault happened at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Metro Bus stop on La Cienega and Jefferson boulevards. Sheriff's detectives say an 18-year-old mentally disabled woman boarded the No. 217 bus and a male passenger followed her to the back.

"She sat down, he sat down near her, got up almost immediately and proceeded to attack her," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Det. Dan Scott.

Investigators say cameras on-board the bus captured the suspect raping the woman as she suffered in silence during a 10-minute trip to Slauson Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard. Another unidentified passenger was on-board during the attack.

"He was facing forward and didn't notice anything immediately, and when he did, he was sure what was going on and tried to signal the bus driver," said Scott.

By the time the bus driver could have intervened, the bus had come to a stop and the suspect fled.

Vincent Cowart works at a school for mentally disabled children and also commutes on the bus. He said he is horrified by what happened.

"That's just sickening, it's very sickening that it would happen. Especially in Culver City, it's such a good area," said Cowart. "You wouldn't expect anything like that to happen over here."

Police are hoping the unidentified bus rider will come forward. Anyone who recognizes the suspect or who has information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.

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