Metro Changes Policy on Notifying Public About Violent Crime After Rape | NBC4 Washington

Metro Changes Policy on Notifying Public About Violent Crime After Rape

News of a rape on the Red Line didn't break for more than a month

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Metro's general manager fields more questions from Capitol Hill lawmakers Tuesday about the safety and reliability of the transit service -- and explains why Metro waited several weeks to share information about an alleged sex assault on a train. News4 Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss reports. (Published Tuesday, May 24, 2016)

    Metro has changed its policy about notifying the public about violent crime, after a woman was raped on a Metro Red Line train in the middle of an April morning -- and news of the attack was not released for more than a month.

    Metro Transit Police tweeted Tuesday that it would now notify the public of any violent crime on the same day that it happens as long as that would not hinder an investigation.

    Man Accused of Attempted Rape on Metro Train

    [DC] Man Accused of Attempted Rape on Metro Train
    The man accused of an April sexual assault aboard a Metro train was wanted for another crime 10 days earlier. News4's Jackie Bensen reports (Published Monday, May 23, 2016)

    The change was at the direction of Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. Wiedefeld said he had learned of the April attack on the day it happened -- though news of the rape broke only on Monday.

    Then, court documents revealed a Northeast D.C. man assaulted and tried to rape a woman riding on a Red Line Metro train during rush hour.

    The suspect, John Prentice Hicks, 39, is accused of forcing the victim to perform oral sex on him as he brandished a knife aboard a Red Line train traveling toward Glenmont at 10 a.m. on April 12.

    Hicks is charged with first-degree attempted rape, first-degree sexual offense and second-degree assault.

    The grisly incident allegedly occurred one day after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death at the Deanwood Station, and weeks after another teen was shot at the Deanwood station, which is along the Orange Line in Northeast D.C.

    Hicks was arrested by Metro Transit police hours after the incident. He was also identified last week in an ongoing sexual assault case in Montgomery County, police said.

    The quick arrest is one reason that Metro said it did not disclose the rape earlier.

    Hicks, of 16th Place in Northeast D.C., is being held without bond.

    The suspect, John Prentice Hicks, 39, has been charged with first degree rape, first degree sexual offense and second degree assault after he forced a woman to perform oral sex on him as he brandished a knife aboard a redline train traveling toward Glenmont on April 12.

    The grisly incident occurred only one day after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death at the Deanwood Station, and weeks after another teen was shot at the same station, which is along the Orange Line in Northeast D.C.

    The victim in this case told police she was asleep in the middle section of a railcar as it approached “either the Fort Totten or Takoma stations” about 10 a.m. As the train continued, the man she identified as Hicks approached her and asked her questions such as, “Do you have a boyfriend?” and “Are you going to Glenmont?”
    Hicks then displayed a folding knife while the train was at the Forest Glen Station, the victim told police.

    He then enveloped the woman in a “bearhug” and forced her to another part of the railcar where he attempted to have sex with her and forced her to perform oral sex all while the knife was in his hand, she told police. At some point, a struggle over the knife left the victim with a cut to her finger, she said.

    The victim said she worried Hicks would kill her if she did not comply.

    At the Glenmont station, Hicks exited the car but ordered the victim to stay where she was, she said. She told police she saw him re-enter the train on another railcar, and police said cameras appear to show him exiting the station and paying the fare with a SmartTrip card.

    A SmartTrip card registered under Hicks’ name shows a charge at Glenmont that day, police said.

    Hicks was also “positively identified” last week in an ongoing sexual assault case in Montgomery County, police said.

    He is being held without bond.