Amanda Raus, Chris Podosek
A Metro-North employee training to be an engineer was arrested Tuesday after a woman told police he performed a lewd act over her while she was asleep on a train, sources said.
The Metro-North employee accused of performing a lewd act over a woman while she was asleep on a train pleaded not guilty to public indecency, breach of peace and fourth-degree sexual assault, court officials said Tuesday.
Manny Ramos, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was arrested Jan. 28 following a complaint from a passenger on a train from New York City to Connecticut, Metro-North officials said. Ramos was training to be engineer, sources tell NBC 4 New York.
Today, Ramos pleaded not guilty to all three charges. His case was continued to March 11.
Sources said the victim was on a 7:35 a.m. train to New Haven and told police she awoke to noises above her and found evidence of the act on her body.
Ramos fled the train when it stopped at the Fairfield station, according to a Metro-North spokesperson.
The train was halted at Fairfield for nearly an hour while police investigated. Ramos was found on a street near the station and the victim identified him as the person responsible, according to the MTA.
"Everyone at Metro-North is outraged by the disgusting actions that this employee is alleged to have committed, and we are glad our train crew and the MTA Police Department acted quickly to apprehend him," said Metro-North President Howard Permut, in a statement Tuesday. "We hold our employees to a high standard, and his alleged conduct is completely unacceptable. We will assist Connecticut prosecutors in any way possible as they pursue their criminal case."
Ramos hired as a coach cleaner in October 2011 and has been in an engineer training program since March 2013, the MTA said. He has been suspended without pay.
Passengers said they were shocked and disturbed by the incident.
"I see people sleeping all the time," said Lauren Winstel, of New York, who was waiting to board a train at the Fairfield station. "It's just really strange that something like that could occur. You think people are respectful of each other, so it's surprising."
The train was stopped in Fairfield for about an hour the morning of the incident.