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Hundreds of sexual assaults reported on King County Metro buses

King County Metro bus in downtown Seattle. (King County Metro)

A transient man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on a King County Metro bus in early May was not booked into jail until weeks later, as reported by KIRO 7’s Amy Clancy.

At about 4:30 a.m. on a bus traveling on Pacific Highway South, surveillance video shows a male passenger sexually and physically assaulting a female.

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The man, later identified as Samuel Lawrence, allegedly pulled 23-year-old woman to back of bus, ripped off her pants and sexually assaulted her, according to police reports.

“He grabbed her by the hair and neck, threw her off the bus, and attempted to drag her away,” Clancy told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

Lawrence was let out of jail the following day on a conditional release, and not put back into jail until charges were booked weeks later.

“It’s very common … people are conditionally released when they promise to show up for their court appearances, promise to have no contact with the alleged victim or any witnesses, and also promise not to break any further laws,” she explained.

In this case, however, Clancy pointed out that Lawrence has had 56 contacts with the King County Sheriff’s office in the past 15 years

“Even with that promise, there’s no guarantee that that’s what we’re going to see from this suspect,” she said.

In 2017, there were at least 100 reports of sexual assaults on King County Metro buses. The assaults happened to both passengers and drivers.

“Often times, women and men are groped on a bus and they don’t bother to report it because, unfortunately, they think that this is just something that happens,” Clancy said.

To combat this, King County Metro launched a program this spring called “Report it to Stop it” to encourage bus riders to report any type of misconduct that they witness on board.

“They’re hoping that by having this program, people will say, ‘You know what, that’s not okay. You can’t grope me. I’m going to report you to the police,'” Clancy said.

In the meantime, Clancy said, numbers of reported sexual assaults on King County buses will likely go up, as more people will feel comfortable reporting them.

Clancy said that she is currently working on another story about a man with a history of attacks who was also given a conditional release.


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