BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
A 22-year-old Mountain View woman has filed a claim against Caltrain, alleging that a conductor raped her in an employees-only area of the train when she was going home alone after a night of heavy drinking.
The woman, who the Post is not identifying to protect her privacy, said she was assaulted while heading home from San Francisco after bar-hopping with friends on April 19, 2017.
According to the claim filed in October, the woman took a Lyft by herself from Union Street in the Marina District to the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets in San Francisco to catch the 12:05 a.m. train home to Mountain View.
She was on the nearly empty platform waiting for the train when three men stood near her on the platform and repeatedly leered at her, whispering among themselves, she alleged.
“Two of the men were wearing Caltrain conductor uniforms and one appeared to be a maintenance worker,” the claim reads. “(The woman) was highly intoxicated and was in a ‘brownout’ state, i.e. a fragmentary blackout with spotty memory.”
The woman remembered that one of the conductors had blond hair.
When the train arrived, she boarded an empty car and sat in a window seat. The two conductors got on her train car, looked at her and whispered to each other, she claimed.
One of the conductors then left and the blond conductor approached her, sitting directly across from her in a seat facing hers.
“(The woman’s) memory remains fuzzy, but (recalls the conductor) leading her down the train car by the hand,” the claim states. “(The woman) was having trouble walking on her own due to her intoxicated state.”
Unable to resist or consent
The next thing she remembered was being in a dark, employees-only room on the train “with the conductor having sexual intercourse with her,” the claim states.
The woman was “too intoxicated to resist or provide consent to any sexual contact, and the Caltrain conductor knew or reasonably should have known that (the woman’s) intoxication prevented her from resisting or providing consent,” the claim states, noting that the sexual act amounted to a rape of an intoxicated woman under the California Penal Code.
The next thing the woman remembered was that the train arrived at the Mountain View station and then she walked home, the claim states. The next day, she told a relative and the police what had happened and went to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, where a rape kit revealed recent vaginal tearing and male DNA, according to the claim.
Caltrain has neither rejected the claim nor settled with the woman who filed it.
Did the DA get the case?
“The allegations of assault were investigated by the Transit Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and were referred to the San Mateo County District Attorney, who declined to prosecute,” Caltrain spokesman Dan Lieberman told the Post in an email. “The individual named in the claim no longer works for Transit America Service Inc., who operates Caltrain service under contract.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti, who handles sex crimes for the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, said that no case had been submitted to prosecution.
There was apparently enough evidence to fire this guy but there’s no criminal case? And they have the DNA. What?
This doesn’t make me feel safe riding that train. I’ve been on that train leaving the city and there aren’t many people on it. Can see how this could happen.
In the wake of the Brock Turner case and the #MeToo movement, you’d think that Caltrain and the San Mateo County Sheriff would be more aggressive when it comes to this case. Maybe an outside investigator can be brought in?
What a horrible crime. I hope this woman gets a lot of money from Caltrain and whatever this conductor has.