The District Attorney’s Office announced charges against a 32-year-old man for allegedly stalking and harassing women in separate incidents in Old City and on South Street.
Steve Ditty, 32, of Philadelphia was charged for three incidents that occurred between Nov. 12 and Nov. 23, which involved two different victims. Philadelphia Police continue to investigate additional complaints from other women alleging similar attacks from Ditty, the DA’s Office said.
According to the District Attorney, Ditty approached a victim on Nov. 12 in the area of 9th and South Streets in South Philly and attempted to initiate conversation. The DA’s Office said Ditty followed the woman as she jogged away and reached out his hand at her. He stopped following her when a woman bystander yelled at him in an apparent attempt to intervene, the DA said.
On November 23, the same complainant was walking in the area of 3rd and Arch Streets when Ditty again approached and attempted to engage her in conversation, at one point using detailed language regarding her body, the DA said. After learning of social media postings from other women describing similar incidents allegedly involving Ditty, the complainant reported the two incidents to Philadelphia Police.
A second complainant is alleged to have been approached by Ditty on November 14, when he approached a woman and asked to use her phone, the DA’’s Office said. The woman declined and she said she became uncomfortable with the language Ditty used. According to the victim’s complaint, Ditty refused to leave her alone despite her verbal requests, making unwanted physical contact with the woman, and continued to follow her as she walked away.
Ditty has been charged with a total of three counts of stalking two counts of simple assault and three counts of harassment from the three encounters.
Ditty’s arrest is a violation of probation, following 10 months of incarceration for a conviction for a similar offense. The District Attorney’s Office has requested a bail set for $999,999 for each of the three cases to ensure Ditty remains detained while investigations continue.
The District Attorney’s Office said a number of similar incidents involving Ditty and other women in the area have been shared via social media and reported to Philadelphia Police.
The DA’s Office is asking others who may have been encountered by Ditty to contact police.
“Women and all people deserve the freedom and comfort of being able to move about in public spaces without fear for their safety. Unfortunately, so-called street harassment of women and girls is all too common,” DAO Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit Supervisor Branwen McNabb said. “The District Attorney’s Office and Philadelphia Police continue to investigate other reported incidents involving Ditty over the past month, and additional charges are possible. If you were a victim of this conduct or know someone who was, we encourage you to report what you know to the Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS.”