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Lawsuit: MARTA failed to protect woman raped at North Avenue station

A woman is suing MARTA for negligence after she was battered, kidnapped and raped at one of the Atlanta stations in 2015, according to a lawsuit filed last week. 

The victim, who was visiting from out of town, awoke to find a man on top of her after she fell asleep at the North Avenue station, the Atlanta Police Department said in July 2015. 

“While we cannot comment on pending litigation, the safety of all of our customers remains our top priority,” MARTA spokesman Erik Burton said in a statement. “We are committed to the highest level of security for our MARTA riders.”

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Police have not provided an update on the case. 

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In August 2015, they released a sketch of a man they wanted to question in connection to the rape.  

The victim “has suffered and will continue to suffer special damages for medical and other quantifiable expenses to be proven with certainty at trial,” says the lawsuit filed on behalf of the woman by Deitch & Rogers and Melvin & Hewitt. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not name victims of sex crimes. 

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The lawsuit alleges that prior to July 26, 2015, there had been “numerous reports of incidents of criminal activity at and near” MARTA premises. MARTA failed to protect the victim and others because it could have taken measures to provide for the safety and security of people on the properties, the May 8 filing says.

The crime happened during a string of sexual assaults occurring near MARTA stops over four months in 2015. In July of that year, a suspect allegedly forced a woman into a nearby ditch and assaulted her near the bus stop at Chattahoochee Avenue and Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard. On June 14, a woman was raped after getting off a train at the Indian Creek MARTA station and pulled into a wooded area, police said. 

After another rape was reported at the Kensington station in September 2014, MARTA police handed out safety literature and whistles, and established its own escort service to ensure patrons safely made it home.

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From the archives: Police investigate rape on MARTA property in Stone Mountain

Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes reports.

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