Police: Girl sexually assaulted riding on school bus in north county

Aug 22, 2018

A high school girl was sexually assaulted by the boy sitting next to her on a 30-minute bus ride home from the second day of school in the north end of Palm Beach County, school police report.

The boy has been arrested, according to the report, in which the names and ages of both the victim and the accused were blacked out as well as the school they attend in order to protect their identities as minors.

School police were alerted to the incident less than two hours after the girl got off the bus. When interviewed at her home, she described sitting near the window when a boy she knows through a mutual friend cornered her in the seat, putting one arm around her and shoving his other hand down her skirt and in her blouse.

As he penetrated her with his fingers, “He also told her not to say anything and not to move around, because people would notice,” the detective wrote. The accused also warned her that he knows where she lives, according to the report.

She told police she told him “no” repeatedly.

Video taken from the bus appeared to corroborate her story, the report said. “The defendant can be seen leaning over the victim, reaching his hand under her shirt, into her bra, reaching around the front and back of the victim’s torso, and manipulating her hands and arms while the victim pulls away and flinches.”

The two got on the bus shortly after 2:50 Tuesday, Aug. 14. She sits down first and he moves into the seat a minute later, according to the report. During the drive, the girl can be seen “leaning away, flinching, putting her arms protectively over her torso, placing her face into her hands, covering her eyes, wiping at her eyes and pushing the defendant away.” After 31 minutes, the girl exits at a bus stop.

In a written statement School Police Chief Frank Kitzerow said, “This incident is a reminder that we have to have hard conversations with our children about how to protect themselves from predators who could be anywhere and of any age. Children and teenagers need to know it’s OK to yell out, and especially make a scene, in order to protect themselves from perpetrators who will try to use verbal threats, the threat of embarrassment and physical intimidation to ensure the cooperation of their victim.”

The accused was taken into custody the next day and interviewed at Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. He admitted to detectives that he “fingered” the victim while they were on the bus that afternoon, the report said. At one point, he said that he asked her if it was a “good idea” and she said “yes.” Later, he said they talked about engaging in this activity on Monday and then on Tuesday “he knew it was ok to do it” since they’d already talked about it. But he also admitted that she told him to “wait” more than once and also said, “No,” causing him to pause but not stop his actions.

By the end of the interview, detectives wrote: “He admitted what he did wasn’t okay. He admitted that he thought the victim was sad after what happened and he regretted what he did.”

Police are seeking charges of sexual battery and kidnapping for holding the girl against her will.