Local News

Boy reportedly sexually assaulted on Durham school bus

Posted September 24, 2014 11:23 a.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2014 6:30 p.m. EDT

— Durham police are investigating a report that a group of older children sexually assaulted a 5-year-old boy recently on a bus carrying students home from W.G. Pearson Magnet Elementary School.

Police Chief Jose Lopez said in a statement Wednesday that he won't comment on the investigation but that detectives with the department's Special Victims Unit are handling the case "with great care and sensitivity to find out what happened."

"As warranted, appropriate law enforcement action will be taken and support services provided to help ensure the welfare of all minors involved," Lopez said.

Qué Pasa recently reported the alleged Sept. 11 incident after the boy's mother contacted the Raleigh newspaper because she was frustrated and concerned that the school wasn't responding appropriately to the complaint.

The woman told WRAL News that her son was in the back of the bus with a group of 10-year-olds – whom he did not know – who took his shoes, pulled down his pants and then assaulted him.

Two girls on the bus saw what happened, the mother said, and they told the boy's grandmother when she picked him up from the bus stop.

The mother added that when she went to the school, administrators' responses seemed to be more focused on the boy being in the back of the bus.

Chrissy Pearson, chief communications officer for Durham Public Schools, confirmed in a statement that school administrators have talked to the child's parents and that they are investigating the details.

But she would not elaborate, citing student privacy concerns and the fact that the investigation is still active.

"Any allegations of this sort are taken very seriously, and our full attention is given to investigating this thoroughly," she said. "Any time one of our students reports misconduct on a school bus or anywhere else, we act quickly, as our students' health and safety are our top priority."