LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) — The first court-ordered transit ban in MTA history came Thursday after a man pleaded guilty to sex abuse in Suffolk County, MTA union officials said.
Michael Harewood entered a guilty plea and accepted a two-year ban from using the Long Island Rail Road as part of the terms of his sentencing. According to officials, an order of protection was placed on the LIRR conductor that was attacked. In New York State, there is a law that allows for up to a three-year ban on those who commit crimes against transit employees or sex offenses in public transportation.
“This case demonstrates the urgency of our call for the justice system to pursue bans for those criminals who seek to target transit workers or customers,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “We must do everything in our power to keep riders and workers safe, and by banning this criminal from the system, the Court has done just that.”
Together, the SMART LIRR and MTA union have been working to make traveling on the trains as safe an experience as possible, focusing on ways to make more criminal offenses subject to the ban to help prevent crime.
“Long Island Rail Road customers and workers can ride easier today, knowing that a criminal with a history of preying on railroad workers is banned from the rails,” said LIRR Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “We appreciate the effort of the Suffolk County DA and the Courts to ensure the plea deal included the defendant forfeiting his right to use the LIRR until almost the start of 2025.”