Woman sexually assaulted aboard Greyhound bus sues transit company

Jon Campisi Feb. 21, 2012, 10:09am

An Oklahoma woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by a fellow passenger while aboard a Greyhound bus heading from her home state to New York two years ago has filed a federal injury claim against the transit company.

Lancaster, Pa. attorney Emily M. Bell filed the civil action Feb. 17 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Cally Hensley Miller.

The defendants are Texas-based Greyhound Bus Lines Inc., as well as two bus operators, identified only as John and Jane Doe.

According to the complaint, Miller was traveling aboard a Greyhound bus with a female companion from Oklahoma to New York on Feb. 20, 2010, when she claims she was sexually assaulted by a man believed to have been on the bus without a ticket.

Miller had gone to sleep in the very back row of the bus, with her female friend seated in the row in front of her.

At one point, Miller awoke to discover an unknown man touching her inner thigh with his pants unzipped and his coat draped over Miller’s midsection, the lawsuit claims.

Miller began to scream, causing the man, later identified as John Sumpter, to jump up, remove his coat and relocate to the middle of the bus, the suit states.

Miller screamed for the driver to stop the bus, but another Greyhound employee informed Miller the bus would not be stopping, according to the complaint.

Fellow passengers, not Greyhound employees, ended up detaining Sumpter until police could become involved.

When the bus arrived at the depot at 10th and Filbert Streets in downtown Philadelphia, police officers arrested Sumpter, and simultaneously reprimanded bus employees for yelling at Miller, the suit states.

Bus employees were giving Miller a hard time because, they claimed, she had never informed them of what had occurred on the bus that led her to want to have the vehicle stopped.

“Ms. Hensley did not know her assailant, never met him and never gave him permission to remove her clothing or touch her person,” the lawsuit states.

Miller, the suit states, in “no manner contributed to her injuries which were the direct result of defendants’ negligence and/or carelessness.”

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of allowing the assailant to enter and remain on the bus unlawfully, failing to provide the plaintiff with a “heightened duty of care,” failing to stop the bus when instructed to do so by the police, violating the plaintiff’s right to personal safety, and other acts of negligence.

The lawsuit claims that Miller has suffered severe emotional distress and mental anguish due to the incident. She has incurred financial expense related to the treatment of her injuries.

Miller seeks unspecified compensatory and other damages.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:12-cv-00846-RBS.

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