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Man arrested in rape of disabled woman on Los Angeles county bus

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police arrested a man on Friday accused of raping a mentally disabled 18-year-old woman on a county bus as it rolled through a Los Angeles suburb during rush hour, two days after the crime stunned America's second-largest city.

Kerry Trotter, 20, was taken into custody at a Los Angeles home after a tip from the public following intense media coverage of the attack, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department said in a statement.

Sheriff's officials have said that the woman, who they described as having the mental capacity of a 10 year old, boarded a Metro bus at about 5 p.m. on Wednesday in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City.

A man boarded at the same time and followed her to the rear of the bus where he sexually assaulted her "without any warning or provocation," a sheriff's office statement said.

The woman reported the assault to the driver after her assailant had left the bus and he quickly notified police.

There were at least several passengers on the bus at the time of the assault, according to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Marc Littman.

"It's premature to jump to any conclusions about the operator's (actions)," Littman said, adding the driver had been placed on administrative leave while the incident was being investigated.

"We know that a rape took place but the circumstances are still being investigated, including the operator's response," he said.

Trotter was booked on suspicion of forcible rape and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending an initial court appearance, which was likely to take place on Monday.

Sheriff's spokesman Sergeant Dan Scott told a news conference that Trotter has an extensive criminal history, including prior charges of sexual assault.

Littman said MTA officials were working with law enforcement and interviewing the bus driver. He defended the county's public transportation system as safe, saying that four rapes had been reported during 2012 out of more than 500 million passengers.

"It's shocking. It's terrible. This a mentally disabled woman," Littman said. "Any rape is terrible."

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)

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