Police Failed To Arrest Accused DC Metro Rapist A Week Before Attack

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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The man accused of raping a woman aboard a moving D.C. Metro train in April dodged arrest just a week before the brutal attack for an indecent exposure charge aboard the Metro.

Police arrested John Prentice Hicks, 39, on the same day as the attack, charging him with attempted first-degree rape, a first-degree sex offense and second-degree assault. Court records revealed the Metropolitan Transit Police Department positively identified Hicks as the likely culprit of an indecent exposure incident on a Metro car April 2, reports The Washington Post.

Despite reportedly having strong evidence to arrest and charge Hicks for the April 2 crime, police failed to get a warrant for Hick’s arrest. It is unclear why authorities failed to arrest Hicks in the week before the April 12 rape. (RELATED: Man Accused Of Raping Woman At Knife Point Inside DC Metro Train)

It is also unclear why officials did not alert the public to the April 12 rape, but Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Tuesday in Congress officials did not feel rushed to alert the public because the suspect was apprehended. Wiedefeld added the D.C. metro system is generally safe, despite a 10.1 percent spike in the transit crime rate this year. (RELATED: Crime In The DC Metro System Sees Dramatic Year-Over-Year Spike)

“That means nothing to the person who’s the victim and it doesn’t mean much for perception,” Wiedefeld said Tuesday during the hearing.

The 39-year-old unidentified woman said she was riding the red line train April 12 towards the Glenmont Station in Montgomery County Maryland at roughly 10 a.m. when Hicks approach her in the empty car. He asked her, “Do you have a boyfriend?” and “Are you going to Glenmont?” the victim told police, before pulling a knife on her and forcing her to a different part of the train. The suspect then raped the victim, assaulting her twice before exiting the train at the Glenmont station.

Police used a combination of the victim’s description, enhanced surveillance footage and information from Hick’s SmartTrip Metro card to arrest him the same day as the attack. Police did not charge Hicks for the indecent exposure incident until his arrest for the rape.

The Metropolitan Police Department said Tuesday Wiedefeld directed police to broadcast any violent events to the public on the same day the crime occurs, as long as it does not interfere with the police investigation.

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