Police have arrested a man accused of going on a groping spree involving three teenage girls, a preteen and a 30-year-old woman within the span of less than two hours in Center City.
Erich Cunningham, 58, is charged with unlawful contact with a child, indecent assault, simple assault and harassment, the Philadelphia Police Department announced. Police arrested him Wednesday night on the 1500 block of John F. Kennedy Boulevard after spotting him at the bottom of an escalator on the subway, an eerily similar location to where he allegedly groped at least one of the girls.
Cunningham, who police say is homeless, is accused of going on a groping spree that began Tuesday morning when he grabbed the hand of a 16-year-old girl waiting on a train platform of the SEPTA Walnut-Locust station, the PPD said. The youngest of the victims is 12 years old, the department said.
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In the first case, Cunningham tried to force his 16-year-old victim to inappropriately touch him, and when she pulled away he groped her before she was able to escape. That incident happened around 6:45 a.m. Just 15 minutes later, police say the man brushed up against a 30-year-old woman at the Suburban Station concourse.
He then made his way to the 1600 block of Arch Street, where he started talking to a 12-year-old girl and blocked her path, the PPD said. She managed to run and as she escaped Cunningham yelled for her to pull her pants down, according to the department.
Half an hour later, the PPD said, Cunningham once again turned his sights to a teenage girl, this time a 15-year-old standing at the intersection of 16th and Vine streets. He groped her and then walked away.
Around 8:33 a.m., Cunningham groped another 16-year-old girl as she stood at the intersection of Broad and Fairmount streets, the PPD said. He ran away north on Broad Street and then west on Brown Street.
The latest series of assaults follow four groping cases reported near the University of Pennsylvania over the weekend. In those cases, the four women were groped within a four-hour window.