Sexual misconduct reports spike in King County. That's a good thing, officials say

SEATTLE -- Reports of sexual misconduct on King County public transportation tripled in 2018 - after the "Report it to Stop it" campaign launched.

That includes reports of anything from unwanted comments, to indecent exposure, to rape.  Officials say the goal is to empower victims and bystanders to stand up and say something.

The campaign encourages people to report any misconduct on public transportation by telling the driver, calling Metro Transit Police at (206) 296-3311, or simply dialing 911.

Officials say a threefold increase in reports might be startling, but they're choosing to view it as a good thing.

"It's the climate that we're trying to change," explained Mary Ellen Stone, the Executive Director of King County's Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC). "And that's what this campaign does. It says: regardless of what the incident was, if it happened to you, we want to hear about it; we want to do something about it."

King County Metro says the program is helping get repeat offenders off public transportation.  Since the Report it to Stop it program started, detectives have sent nearly four dozen cases to prosecutors, including 14 felonies.  In three of those cases, the suspects are repeat offenders, now in custody and waiting for their trials to start.  Eleven convictions are credited t othe program