7 boys face felony charges in alleged assault on bus

MARYSVILLE — Police are recommending felony charges against seven middle school boys allegedly involved in a sexually motivated assault of a girl on a Marysville school bus in early March.

They’ve sent the results of their investigation to Snohomish County juvenile prosecutors, Marysville police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux said Tuesday.

Police are recommending that all seven boys allegedly involved be charged with indecent liberties, a felony sex offense. The boys, and the girl, 13, all attended Marysville Middle School.

In general, a person commits indecent liberties when they knowingly cause another person to have sexual contact with them or someone else. The law says that may happen by force or through other circumstances.

The detective who investigated the case “felt the facts met the elements of the statute,” Lamoureux said. “Ultimately that will be the decision of the (prosecutors), however.”

Police and school officials haven’t disclosed exactly what happened on the bus between the boys and the girl. A surveillance camera on the bus recorded the incident.

The boys range from 11 to 15 years old, according to Marysville police.

District officials have rejected public records requests for the video on the grounds that release without approval from all of those involved would violate student education rules and privacy rights.

Four of the boys have been expelled, and three others have been suspended for the remainder of the school year, school officials said.

Four boys filed appeals of the discipline taken against them, according to district records. It wasn’t immediately clear whether those cases all involved the expelled students. Their hearings are expected to occur in the next few weeks, district spokeswoman Jodi Runyon said.

Police and district officials so far have declined to discuss details of the investigation, except to say that the boys engaged in different levels of misconduct.

The incident occurred on a March 1 bus ride. The school district did not learn about the allegations until the next day.

The incident occurred near the middle of the bus on a morning run from neighborhoods on the north end of the district, officials said. There were about 40 students on board at the time.

School district officials said the surveillance camera on the bus caught things the bus driver didn’t see.

Many newer buses are equipped with higher-backed seats designed to prevent older students from bumping heads with passengers in front of them in the event of a crash. The higher seats also make it harder for bus drivers to see what shorter students may be up to, officials said.

The bus in which the incident occurred was built in 2009 and has the higher seats.

The camera was mounted above the driver and looked down on the students.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com

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