APD: Teen groped on MetroRail
Austin Police say a man groped a 14-year-old boy on a MetroRail train Tuesday.
According to the arrest affidavit, Tomas David Garcia, 53, is charged with indecency with a child by contact, a second degree felony.
According to court documents the boy boarded the train downtown on E. 4th Street. He was then approached by Garcia who asked to use his cellphone to make a call.
Garcia sat next to him as the train left the station and called his roommate. The boy heard Garcia say, "I'm on the train, I will be there in 30 minutes."
Garcia asked the teen his first name, his age and what station he was getting off at. When the boy told him, Garcia asked if he could follow him to his station. The teen told Garcia no, police said.
In an interview at the Center for Child Protection the victim told police Garcia then began touching him inappropriately over his pants and made moaning noises.
The teen told Garcia to stop. He took his hands off his pants but continued to rub his arms and legs, documents said.
Garcia exited the train at the Howard Station. The victim texted his mother and told her the instant she got to the station at Lakeline, to get him in the car and leave quickly. The victim told police he was scared because Garcia had his phone number and knew what station he was getting off at.
The teen's mother contacted police who were able to find Garcia through the phone call he made to his roommate on the victim's phone.
Train use is expected to rise during SXSW and riders tell CBS Austin they generally feel safe on the commuter line.
"I'm sort of surprised because every time I've been on it I felt very safe," said Kerrie Miksch.
Shayne Calhoun rides the route from Lakeline to downtown daily and said it's normally a good experience.
"I haven't heard of any other instance like that so this is a very random event," Calhoun said.
CapMetro didn't want to talk about this incident, but a spokesperson sent CBS Austin this statement:
"Since trains began operating, we have had no sexual assaults on our rail system and in fact no level one crimes at all."
The agency also said there's security personnel on-board through an agreement with the Austin Police Department, but it's unclear how frequently they ride.
"There's generally a ticket counter and an officer that works with CapMetro," Calhoun said.
Miksch said her grandson enjoys riding the train, but she'd have to think twice about letting her teenage daughter ride alone.
"I don't know if I would do 14. I was a little hesitant with the 17-year-old, but it depends on time of day," Miksch said.
Garcia is charged with indecency with a child by contact. He's in the Travis county jail on a $40,000 bond.