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7 teens accused in MBTA attack

Rider assaulted, phone stolen

Seven teenagers were arrested Tuesday night after they ­allegedly assaulted a 34-year-old Boston woman on an ­Orange Line train, stole her cellphone, and then celebrated with high-fives as they ran out of the MBTA station, the Suffolk district attorney’s office said.

Transit Police officers met the woman at the Tufts Medical Center T Station, after she had allegedly been grabbed by the hair and had her face slammed into the train’s metal railing as the teens pried her phone from her hand, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said.

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The victim provided descriptions of the teenagers and told officers that the group had also left the train at the same stop and fled toward Tremont Street. Officers eventually caught up with the group at the intersection of Washington and Union Park streets in the South End, Transit Police said.

After confirming that the group matched the descriptions given by the victim, officers arrested ­Kernisha Smith, 18, of Dorchester; Demario Barber, 17, of Mattapan; and four juveniles on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and unarmed robbery, police said.

A seventh suspect — Eric Thompson, 18, of Dorchester— was arrested on the same charges after attempting to bail the group out at Transit Police headquarters. An officer quickly realized that Thompson was also involved in the attack, based on surveillance images from the Tufts station, Transit Police said.

The victim’s phone was not recovered, said MBTA spokesman Joseph Pesaturo.

Barber, Smith, and Thompson pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignment in Boston ­Municipal Court Tuesday, and all of the suspects were ordered to stay away from the victim.

Barber’s bail was set at $5,000, and his bail on an unrelated assault and battery case in East Boston was ­revoked. Smith and Thompson were each held on $2,000 bail. They will return to court Nov. 20.

Three of the juveniles were arraigned Wednesday in Boston Juvenile Court, where they all pleaded not guilty. They were then released to their parents with orders to stay away from the victim, a witness, and the MBTA unless in the presence of a parent or while commuting to school.

The fourth juvenile will be in court on Nov. 1.

Sarah N. Mattero can be
reached at sarah.mattero@
globe.com
.
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