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Woman Shares Disturbing Encounter With CTA Masturbator In Facebook Post (NSFW)

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 14, 2017 10:22PM

This post has been updated.

A woman visiting Albany Park to look at an apartment last week described a disturbing encounter with a man on the CTA Brown Line who stared at her while masturbating, in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.

The post, written on June 9, describes how the woman got on a Brown Line train toward the Loop at the Kedzie station, and then noticed that a man she didn't know, but had seen earlier in her day riding the Brown Line, was sitting across from her touching his genitals through his shorts. The woman, who took a photo of the incident, said she stood up and shouted at him to stop, at which point the man fled the train car:

As the train began to take off, I noticed this man, who was now seated across from me, staring at me whilst rubbing himself though his basketball shorts. His inappropriate behavior made me quite uncomfortable, but I did my best to ignore his sexual advances, until he decided it would be appropriate to take out his penis from the side of his basketball shorts and begin masturbating while engaged in eye contact with me. At this point, I decided I could no longer sit there passively, and loudly exclaimed that he needed to put it back in his shorts. When I began to cause a scene in the train car, he got up and exited at the next stop, and hopped on the brown line heading in the opposite direction back towards Howard.

The woman writes that she took videos of the incident and contacted CTA security to report it, but a CTA employee was "unhelpful." She writes that the man should be barred from riding the CTA, especially if the incident was not "isolated."

Since this man thought it was appropriate to expose himself to me, I thought it would only be appropriate to expose him to the internet. I have a hard time believing that this was an isolated incident, and strongly believe that this man has been riding the CTA all day, frivolously exposing himself to unsuspecting and vulnerable women. I want him barred from riding the CTA, and I want other women to know that they do not have to be subjected to this kind of misconduct. Men like this have no shame, and get off on the fact that most of the women they are targeting are not inclined to speak up against the situation, but I have always been a loud mouth. Your move, Chicago Transit Authority.

A CTA spokeswoman told Chicagoist Wednesday afternoon that the man in question was arrested by Chicago police later that day near the South Loop's Roosevelt CTA Station after another rider reported him. She said the CTA also contacted the woman from the Brown Line incident via Twitter "immediately" after becoming aware of the incident.

"As CTA always does in cases like this, we reached out right away to [the woman] to get more information," CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said in a statement. "We then worked with Chicago Police to investigate the matter, including review of available video from security cameras."

"This behavior is completely unacceptable and CTA does not condone nor tolerate it. We take every incident seriously and investigate fully to aid police in making arrests and the State’s Attorney in obtaining convictions for criminal behavior on CTA," she added. "We encourage all customers to report any incident to Police, CTA personnel or CTA Customer Service, so that we can begin looking into immediately."

Chicagoist has reached out to the post writer and the Chicago Police Department, and will update this story if we hear back.

If you see or experience sexual misconduct on the CTA (this includes seeing a masturbator, being groped, being grinded on or touched without consent, etc.), you can report it to the CTA online or call 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282) or TTY: 1-888-CTATTY1 (1-888-282-8891). The CTA also advises passengers to call 911 in emergencies and/or if their safety is threatened. Riders can also file a police report (try calling 311 if you're riding in Chicago) or visiting a nearby police station. The CTA has published extensive harassment reporting guidelines here and also runs an anti-harassment campaign.

Sexual misconduct on the CTA remains a problem. In 2014, the Tribune reported that sexual harassment on local transit routinely went unreported, possibly due to confusion over what constituted harassment or misconduct. It's a big problem in New York City too, as our sister site Gothamist has documented extensively.

Updated 5:55 p.m.: The woman who wrote the post, Madeira DeFreitas, wrote to Chicagoist with an update on how she is recovering, almost a week after the incident:

At the time of the incident I felt a little nervous and overwhelmed, but a week later, especially after all of the positive responses my post has received, I feel empowered and incredibly encouraged and supported. CTA and the CPD have been pretty helpful, but all of these things take a lot of time to sort out, so now it’s just a waiting game. The CTA is such an integral part of life here in Chicago, and I refuse to let this mans stupidity effect me to a degree where I refuse to take public transit anymore. The point of my post was not only to gain attention from the CTA after getting no initial response from them, but also to show other women that they don’t have to sit there passively and be subjected to that kind of harassment. I will continue to ride CTA and I will continue to cause a scene when things like this happen.

The full Facebook post, below, contains the woman's account of what happened and a NSFW photo of the alleged masturbator: