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Boy Accused of Sexually Assaulting 3-year old on School Bus

CHICAGO -- Police are investigating allegations that a 3-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a 12-year-old boy on a school bus.

The incident, part of which was captured by bus surveillance-cameras, allegedly happened Friday afternoon. The 12-year-old was taken into custody Sunday evening, according to Gurnee police.

Citing federal privacy laws, Hutton would not say which school or schools the boy and girl attended, or whether either is a special education student.

The girl is hearing-impaired, according to police.

The school superintendent said it’s not unusual for pre-schoolers to ride with older children.

“It’s never been a problem before, because most of the time the older kids either don’t pay any attention to [the younger kids] … or they try to really be nice to them and help them,” said District 56 Superintendent John Hutton.

“They’re older, so they try to take care of them.”

Hutton said that when possible, pre-school students are bused with kids in kindergarten, first and second grades.

But this isn’t the only instance of the district’s youngest students riding with older students, he said.

Hutton said the girl’s mother contacted the district’s transportation office, which contacted him at about 4 p.m. on Friday to view video footage from the bus.

Cameras were installed in the front and back of the bus, he said, but because of the vehicle’s high-backed seats, some portions of the incident can’t be seen on video.

“We could see some things, but we didn’t see everything,” Hutton said.

Hutton said he cannot recall an incident like this during his four-year tenure in Gurnee, but a similar incident happened in another district where he once worked.

“This is never pleasant. It’s terrible,” he said. “I didn’t sleep much all weekend. I’m a dad too, and this stuff just bothers you.”

He said he wants parents in the district to know that “student safety is a top priority to us.”

“That’s why we wrote the grant and why we received a federal grant to put cameras on the buses – so kids could be as safe as they could be while on the bus,” he said.

“The cameras are supposed to act as a deterrent, and for those kids that it doesn’t deter, then the cameras become a source of evidence against them.”

The alleged happened during the Friday afternoon ride home from school, said Gurnee Police Cmdr. Jay Patrick.

The only two other students on the bus when the girl was picked up from school in Vernon Hills were a 12-year-old boy from Gurnee and a 9-year-old Waukegan boy, Patrick said.

The bus driver, a 71-year-old man, said he had no idea anything inappropriate was happening on the bus.

The girl was examined at and released from Lake Forest Hospital on Friday evening, Patrick said.

Police took the 12-year-old boy into custody at about 7:35 p.m. on Sunday, and he was later transported to the Depke Juvenile Justice Center in Vernon Hills.

The department is working with the Department of Children and Family Services and the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center.

The Lake County State’s Attorney Juvenile Division will determine possible charges to be filed in juvenile court, Patrick said.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun