TriMet gives serial abuser the boot from public transit for life
TriMet has banned Jared W. Walter for life from its buses and trains for his alleged sexual assaults and harassment of women riding public transportation.
The regional transit agency announced the ban Thursday, April 18. It is the first time TriMet has banned someone for life from public transportation. TriMet officials made the decision because of Walter's assaults on women riding buses and trains in separate March incidents. Walter also has been arrested several times in the past decade for interfering with public transportation.
TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey said the agency did not take the decision lightly to bar Walter from transit for life. "As a public transit provider, people rely on our buses and trains to get to jobs and services. But we cannot allow Mr. Walter to continue to ride based on his recent actions and behavior that threatens the safety and well-being of our riders and employees," Kelsey said in a press release.
Walter, 32, was arrested March 26 after a women told transit police that Walter reached around a seat and inappropriately touched her breast while she sat in front of him on a MAX train. Walter is being held in jail on charges of harassment, third-degree sexual abuse and interfering with public transportation. On Monday, April 15, a judge reduced his bail from $100,000 to $50,000.
Walter was dubbed the "TriMet barber" after he was arrested in 2017 for cutting a woman's hair on a TriMet bus.
Walter has an extensive criminal history in both Oregon and Texas. He has faced similar charges in Washington and Clackamas counties for assaults on TriMet passengers, including inappropriately touching women, cutting and super-gluing their hair while they ride public transportation. He also is a registered sex offender.
Between 2005 and 2008, Walter was charged in Fort Bend County, Texas, with assault, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and evading arrest in separate incidents. In the past 14 years, Walter has been convicted of 10 felonies and 17 misdemeanors, according to the Multnomah County district attorney's office.
Walter's lifetime exclusion falls under a 2017 TriMet ordinance giving the general manager the ability to ban people from public transit. The ordinance allows the agency to exclude people who "pose a serious threat to TriMet employees and passengers."
TriMet officials met with the district attorney's staff to review evidence in Walter's most recent case and decided to ban him for life. The March 20 arrest came just four months after Walter was released from jail for a separate assault on TriMet passengers.
"I conclude that anything less than a lifetime exclusion would subject TriMet customers and employees to an immediate and serious threat to their safety," Kelsey said.
Walter has the opportunity to appeal his lifetime ban each year, but victims of the assaults and harassment could offer statements supporting the ban.