PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man who has been sexually abusing women on the TriMet for nearly a decade is out of jail. Jared Walter has been performing sexual acts on women on trains and buses across the metro area since 2010.
He was released from jail on Monday at 11 a.m. KOIN 6 News reported back in March when he was sentenced to a year in jail. Walter was due to be released in March 2020, but got out early for good behavior. TriMet officials said Walter is banned from public transit for life, but some citizens are still concerned.
“The fact that he wasn’t more severely punished leads to the idea, like it’s not a big deal, so people aren’t looking for him,” said frequent transit rider and college student Alexandra Modjeski.
For the past 9 years, Walter has been accused or convicted of sexually abusing women dozens of times while riding public transit. The incidents include groping women, cutting their hair, and other sexual acts. In 2013, TriMet banned him for 5 years. Records show he violated that ban more than once.
“I’ll definitely be more aware,” said Raquel Salazar, who also uses public transportation. “I don’t think it’d be hard for him to get on a bus, I mean there’s no real security.”
TriMet authorities implemented a lifetime ban in April, while Walter was still in jail. As of Monday, he’s a free man, but transit officials said he can’t go within 50 feet of any TriMet stop or station.
“I hope TriMet drivers are aware of what he looks like,” said Modjeski.
I mean, there’s nothing on the TriMet right now that say you should be aware of this person.”
Officials told KOIN 6 News that all TriMet employees, including drivers, were sent an email with his picture and told to immediately contact authorities if they see him on a bus.
“How are you going to keep him from getting on public transit when probably most people don’t recognize him, like most bus drivers aren’t going to be like, ‘Yeah, that’s the guy,'” Modjeski asked.
KOIN 6 News spoke to a woman who was a victim 2 years ago who said she had to move away from downtown Portland after the assault happened. The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she dealt with PTSD and anger as a result. After she heard that Walter received a lifetime ban from public transit, she said she appreciated the gesture, but also said she was a victim during the period when he was temporarily banned before.
Walter’s lifetime ban from using transit was the first one TriMet has ever issued.
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