Indecent assault reported on Schuylkill River Trail

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From runners to bikers and everyone in between, the Schuylkill River Trail is busy every day. (WPVI)

From runners to bikers and everyone in between, the Schuylkill River Trail is busy every day. But recently, some young people have decided to ruin the outdoor experience by harassing and groping people along the river.

Police are investigating three indecent assaults reported over the last month, and now a member of city council is stepping in to help.

Police say the latest reported assault occurred in broad daylight.

A 29-year-old woman was running along the trail with her boyfriend at about 3 p.m. Sunday.

The couple was approached by a group of teens on bikes, ranging in age from 13 to 16. The woman says she was inappropriately touched before the suspects rode away.

Juveniles on bikes were also reportedly involved in one of the prior indecent assaults.

Reports of trouble along the popular stretch of trail that hugs the river in Center City first surfaced late in the summer on social media posts frequented by runners.

Jon Lyons explains, "More and more people chimed in with the same story of a group of teens that were riding on the trail and harassing runners, commuters, bikers."

Lyons is the organizer of Run 215. He says trail users want action.

Police already have bike patrols on the trail, and they've beefed up both uniform and undercover officers in the area.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson announced Tuesday that he is convening a public meeting to discuss possible trail improvements.

Johnson explains, "We will be looking at putting out cameras as well as lighting along the trail, and also mile markers and, most importantly, emergency telephones. When some of these incidents were taking place, individuals weren't able to actually call in and say where these incidents were taking place."

Lyons says he would also like to see a discussion with the kids involved, encouraging them to use the trail in a positive way.

A meeting to discuss ideas for improving safety on the trail is scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. at City Hall.
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