Officials: Suspect in custody for sex assault of teen at City Hall SEPTA station

Authorities said the entire incident was caught on video.

Mike Dougherty
July 04, 2018 - 12:22 pm

Philadelphia Police Department

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Authorities believe they have captured the man who sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl on a SEPTA platform. 

Officials said SEPTA police arrested a man on Wednesday night at the 69th Street station who fit the description of the suspect and was found in illegal possession of a handgun.

The sexual assault happened around 10 p.m. Tuesday on the southbound platform of the Broad Street Line at the City Hall Station in the 1400 block of JFK Boulevard.

Authorities said the girl was waiting for a train when a man pulled a gun on her and proceeded to sexually assault her.

"He is the No. 1 most wanted person at SEPTA right now. What he did was vile," said SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel.

Nestel said the entire incident was caught on video.

"That will become part of the evidence for prosecution," he said, "but right now the priority now is to catch this person."

Officials said the 23-year-old man in custody was being held on charges related to the gun, but had not been charged in the sexual assault of the teen.

Nestel said the incident happened very quickly, with other people and even some police nearby.

The victim did not know the suspect.

"He committed a vile act of power and control, and we need to disarm him of that power and control as soon as possible," Nestel added. "This is an unknown attacker, which makes it all that much more hideous and threatening. It can happen again and we want to stop that."

"We strongly believe, based on what we have, that he is the person, so we want to give some assurances that we believe it's him," added Philadelphia police spokesman Capt. Sekou Kinebrew. "That said, Special Victims [Unit> still has a lot of work to do to firmly connect him to the crime and make sure we have everything firmed up for successful prosecution."

He said the suspect, whose name has not yet been released, is from Philadelphia and has one prior unrelated charge on his record.

Charges are still pending in the sex assault, and investigators are still working with the victim to firm up the case.

"The trauma of the horror that happened is obviously impacting that," he added, "but obviously she is cooperative and working with us, and we are obviously very sympathetic to that."

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KYW Newsradio's Kristen Johanson contributed to this report.