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Focus of ‘cellphone flasher’ probe faces other charges, Metro police say

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Steven Andrew Slaughter had been charged in the alleged incidents. He has not; police say he is a suspect. This version has been corrected.

Steven Slaughter (WMATA)

Metro Transit Police have charged a 22-year-old man with violating a court order to stay away from trains and buses, and they have identified him as a suspect in the “cellphone flasher” case, in which women were accosted in the subway system and shown lewd photos.

From Jan. 14 to Jan. 23, police said, they received several reports of the flasher. The suspect, Steven A. Slaughter, who has lived at varying addresses in the District in recent years, has a record of arrests on charges of lewdly accosting women in the subway system. Slaughter has not been charged in any of the January incidents. But he is a focus of the police investigation, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said.

“Transit police are pursuing additional charges against Mr. Slaughter in relation to the display of lewd photos,” Stessel said in an e-mail.

Metro Police Chief Ron Pavlik said the department has long been familiar with Slaughter. Pavlik said that in addition to harassing women, Slaughter often solicits money on the subway by pretending to seek donations for a youth organization.

Slaughter was arrested Saturday on a misdemeanor assault charge after he allegedly spit on a woman aboard a Red Line train Jan. 23, according to court records. He also was charged with contempt of court after allegedly violating a D.C. Superior Court judge’s order that heavily restricts his use of the Metro system.

Cell phone flasher approaches victim (WMATA)

The court order was issued in connection with allegations that Slaughter had engaged in lewd conduct on the subway. Under the order, he is allowed to use the transit system only to travel to hearings or meetings related to his criminal cases.

He was being held in the D.C. jail pending a hearing Friday.

In September, Slaughter was arrested and charged with masturbating on a Red Line train. At the same time, he was charged with simple assault after allegedly lifting a woman’s skirt aboard a Red Line train. That same month, he was accused of grabbing a woman from behind and grinding against her in the Gallery Place station in Northwest Washington.

When the cellphone-photo incidents occurred in January, according to court records, Slaughter was free while awaiting court hearings in the September cases.

On Jan. 23, police said, Slaughter was harassing someone on a Red Line train, asking for money, when a woman came to that person’s aid. Slaughter “yelled at” the good Samaritan “and stated that she was not involved in the conversation,” according to a police affidavit filed in court. Slaughter then “expectorated upon” the woman.

He left the train and avoided immediate arrest. The next day, he appeared in Superior Court in the September cases. He pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd conduct and one count of misdemeanor assault, according to court records. A judge imposed suspended jail terms totaling nine months and put him on probation for a year.

In return for the guilty pleas, authorities agreed not to charge Slaughter in an incident that occurred in July. Stessel said surveillance video shows Slaughter masturbating on a Metrobus in front of a female passenger.

Slaughter served a jail term for assaulting a Metro police officer in January 2012, according to court records. In December 2012, he allegedly snatched an iPhone from a woman on a Green Line train and was charged with robbery. He went to trial in Superior Court and was acquitted by a jury, court records show.

Referring to the cellphone-photo incidents, Pavlik said they show “a clear pattern of disturbing and unacceptable behavior.” He added, “Sexual harassment, inappropriate touching and lewd behavior have absolutely no place on Metro, and we will use all tools at our disposal to arrest those who commit such acts.”

Peter Hermann contributed to this report.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.
Paul Duggan covers the Metro system and transportation issues for The Washington Post.



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