UPPER DARBY, Pa. - Officials on Thursday identified a man who is accused of groping a woman who asked for directions at SEPTA station on Wednesday and may be responsible for sexually assaulting other women on SEPTA property, including young girls.
"We need a strong SEPTA. We also need a secure system that everybody feels they can ride without putting their lives at risk," Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said in a Thursday afternoon press conference.
Upper Darby Police Supervisor Timothy Bernhardt said 28-year-old Edwin Allen was arrested by SEPTA police after a woman was heard screaming inside 69th Street Terminal on Wednesday night.
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Bernhardt told reporters that the victim missed her stop and asked Allen how to get to the opposite platform. It's believed that Allen sexually assaulted the woman when she followed him.
A SEPTA employee heard the victim screaming for help and alerted a SEPTA police officer who arrested Allen and turned him over to Upper Darby police, Bernhardt said. He is expected to be arraigned on Thursday.
Sources tell FOX 29's Steve Keeley that Allen is also suspected of groping other women on SEPTA property over the last several days, including at least two school-aged girls.
The first incident happened on Monday just past 5 p.m. at SEPTA's Olney station. Sources say a Philadelphia high school student reported that she was grabbed inappropriately by a man. She pushed him off and he continued walking through the train car.
SEPTA police on Tuesday received a report from the dean of Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School that a student reported being was sexually assaulted the day before on the SEPTA Broad Street Line subway train, sources say.
SEPTA investigators learned she got on the train at the Olney station around 7 p.m. Monday - just two hours after the first alleged incident - and was inappropriately grabbed by a man, according to a source. She was able to push him off and he exited the train at Allegheny station.
Sources linked the same suspect to a third incident this week where a woman reported being grabbed by an unknown man at 15th Street in Philadelphia around 4 p.m.
She chased him on the westbound platform and up the steps to Dilworth Park just outside of City Hall.
At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Bernhardt said their investigation is ongoing and only linked Allen to the sexual assault that happened Wednesday night at the 69th Street Terminal.
The incidents come days after another man was arrested and charged for raping a woman aboard a crowded SEPTA train. Stollsteimer denied reports that passengers stood idly by and watched the assault happen, but said at least two people filmed it.
"There's a narrative out there that people sat on the El Train and watched this transpire and took videos of it for their own gratification," Stollsteimer said. "That is simply not true, it did not happen."
Stollsteimer said a handful of people may have witnessed parts of the rape as they were filtering on and off the train and urged them to share what they saw with investigators.