I TEAM: man charged for incident on RTA bus had been investigated in child luring case

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CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has found charges just filed against a man for a sex assault on a woman on an RTA bus. And the same man had recently been cleared after getting arrested in a child luring case.

Joseph Plata has been charged by RTA Police with sexual imposition and assault. Plata just got arrested this week for an incident on an RTA bus near East 55th and Kinsman in Cleveland back on May 4.

Court records show he “rubbed her buttock” then “hit her buttocks with his skateboard.” Plata finally got arrested for that when an RTA officer spotted him on Public Square.

Last month, Cleveland Police arrested him for investigation of criminal child enticement. A family on West 44th says a man with a pocket knife stood near a group of kids playing and tried to coax a 4-year-old to go with him. However, Plata was released with no charges in that incident. Police said they did not have enough evidence.

We pressed City Hall for more, and the mayor’s office sent us a statement. Spokesman Dan Ball wrote, "The suspect who was arrested was not charged because the elements of criminal child enticement were not met. The detective spoke to both the County prosecutor's office twice and our office once. Charge is very difficult to make.”

A law enforcement source tells the I TEAM that child enticement cases can be difficult because police have to show some proof of sexual intent involved.

The grandmother of the little girl in the West 44th case furious. Jackie Millsaps-Jones said, “That’s what gets me angry about the City of Cleveland. They’re not protecting our children. And they need to protect our children.”

Plata goes to court Wednesday AM for the bus incident case. Both charges he’s facing are misdemeanors.