2 more bus riders say they were molested; Personal Injury Lawyers, Orange County CA

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Personal Injury News

Article Date: 11/3/2010 | Resource: MLG

2 more bus riders say they were molested; Personal Injury Lawyers, Orange County CA

A man accused of trying to unzip a teenager’s pants aboard an Orange County bus last week is believed to have targeted at least two other teenagers, incidents officials said all occurred aboard public buses.

Orange County Sheriff officials said surveillance video shows the 55-year-old man touching two teenagers aboard Orange County Transportation Authority buses, but two additional victims have come forward with allegations they too were targeted.

Herath Premaratnea was taken into custody as he exited a bus at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Wilson Street on Oct. 28, just hours after officials released images caught on bus surveillance cameras.

Sheriff officials released the images after a 16-year-old girl reported she was riding a bus near Placentia Avenue and 18th Street in Costa Mesa when a man began to touch her leg and unzip her pants aboard the bus.

The girl walked off the bus and the man was seen on surveillance video following her out.

Premaratnea is believed to have boarded buses as many as 10 times during the day.

Investigators reviewed video of buses for the day and found at least one more incident where the same man was seen touching a second girl. That victim has not come forward to investigators, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

In the last two days, two additional victims have contacted authorities about being victimized by Premaratnea, Amormino said.
One of the incidents is reported to have occurred in late June involving a 19-year-old victim aboard a bus in Long Beach, Amormino said. The second incident occurred Oct. 1 in the Los Angeles area with a minor, he said.

“They saw the newscasts and came forward,” he said.
Premaratnea is a resident of Los Angeles, and officials said he may have been searching for a job with a companion while riding several buses.

Officials are asking anyone who may have been victimized to contact sheriff officials at 866-TIP-OCSD or 866-847-6273.

According to sheriff records, Premaratnea is currently being held at Men’s Central Jail and is expected to appear in court on Nov. 8.

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Jeffrey Marquart