GARY | South Shore officials are facing a potential lawsuit alleging they failed to prevent the sexual attack and robbery of a woman who stopped at the Miller station shelter to avoid the rain.
Attorney Paul Rossi, of Lowell, said he has filed a tort claim -- the first step in suing the commuter railroad -- that holds the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railway Co. and the South Shore Transit Police Department responsible for not preventing the alleged rape, sexual assault and armed robbery of his 68-year-old client.
Attorneys for NICTD did not respond for comment Monday.
Rossi said the woman had returned to the Miller section of Gary after attending her sister's funeral on Aug. 13.
Relatives dropped off the woman at the McDonald's restaurant on South Lake Street, which was about to close.
Having bought her food, the woman discovered it was raining and walked to the South Shore passenger shelter on U.S. 12 at Lake Street where about 11:40 p.m., a lone young man approached her asking about the train schedule.
The assailant pulled out a pistol, ordered the woman to the ground, raping her and robbing her of $20 and a cellphone, Rossi said.
The tort claim alleges the violence was caught on NICTD's security camera but no action was taken.
Two days later, a transit officer reportedly recognized the man on the videotape as the same person arrested the previous day for breaking into cars parked at the Miller station.
Prosecutors subsequently charged Aarion Teri Lee Mosley, 16, of Gary, with multiple counts of rape, criminal deviate conduct, robbery and criminal confinement.
Rossi argues NICTD officials knew or should have known a criminal attack would occur at the shelter given what he called a history of prior incidents at the location.
"Hopefully, the tort claim and forthcoming lawsuit will motivate NICTD to ramp up the security for northern Indiana and Illinois passengers to safely travel without fear of criminal attacks," Rossi said.
Transportation officials have 90 days to respond to the tort claim, which seeks $700,000 for physical pain, mental suffering and violation of the woman's civil rights.