Manny Ramos had been under a lot of stress lately.
The Metro-North Railroad employee's relationship with his wife had soured and, on the morning of Jan. 28, he was on his way to New Haven to take a physical characteristic test for the railroad's engineer-training program.
The 35-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y., man then spied the pregnant woman asleep in the nearly empty train car he was riding in somewhere between Westport and Fairfield.
The events that then allegedly transpired on the train are detailed in police reports reviewed Friday by Hearst Connecticut Media.
"I was studying for the test when I started to have unwanted thoughts," Ramos later told MTA police, according to the reports. "I began to touch myself when I felt ill with a headache and stressed, the next thing I knew I was masturbating."
The woman, a 33-year-old medical researcher who is five months pregnant, boarded the 7:35 a.m. train at Grand Central Terminal on her way to work at Yale University. She was tired and, after most of the passengers in her car disembarked in Stamford, she stretched out and closed her eyes.
"Just before the train arrived in Fairfield, I felt and heard something moving around me," she told MTA police. The woman said she felt something drop on her pants and opened her eyes to see something "white" on her clothes. "I then looked straight ahead at a male with his penis exposed, his pants were down showing his black underwear," she said.
The woman yelled.
A startled Ramos told police he immediately began zipping up. "It wasn't me," he told the woman.
On Tuesday, Ramos will get a to try out that defense when he is arraigned at Superior Court in Bridgeport.
He was initially charged with public indecency and second-degree breach of peace, but police sources and a written report noted he will additionally be charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.
If convicted of the charges, he could get up to two years in prison. Ramos is now free after posting $1,000 bond.
In 2006, the state passed a law extending sexual contact to include ejaculation -- if it strikes the victim -- in response to an incident at the University of Connecticut that caused a public outcry when some male students who masturbated on a sleeping female students were only charged with breach of peace.
MTA police said the woman in the Metro-North incident began screaming for other passengers to stop Ramos as he began walking away from her, but no one came to her aid.
As the train stopped at the downtown Fairfield station, Ramos bolted out the door, the woman in pursuit.
Police said she managed to grab him by the backpack he was wearing. A conductor leaned his head out of the train and as the woman began to explain what had happened to her, Ramos broke free and walked away.
Police broadcast an alert for the capture of Ramos, who was stopped a short time later on the Unquowa Road overpass over the tracks by Fairfield Police Sgt. Chris Loli.Read Full Article
MTA police said they brought Ramos back to the station platform where the woman positively identified him as the man who masturbated on her.
Police said they noticed the woman had several white stains on the upper leg portion of her maternity pants. A co-worker brought her some new clothing and she turned the pants over to police. They subsequently drove her to the Bridgeport train station and put her on a train back to Grand Central.
Police said both the victim and Ramos' wife are Asian.
Meanwhile, the train, filled with about 200 passengers, was held at the Fairfield depot for nearly an hour.
Concerned that Ramos might have been involved with similar incidents prior to taking tests, police said they checked other testing sites he had gone to -- Poughkeepsie, Brewster, Wassiac, New Canaan and Stamford stations -- for complaints, but found none.
Formerly a Metro-North rail coach cleaner, Ramos was a student engineer at the time of the incident. He has since been suspended with pay, pending the criminal charges against him.
"I really had no intention to harm or disturb anyone," Ramos told MTA police. "I just wanted this feeling to go away. I'm trying to help myself as best I can by keeping busy, spending time with my family and trying to convince my wife to come with me to counseling so I can have peace and continue to be a father and husband for my family.
"I'm asking the courts and your honor for help."