By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — A former Marysville Middle School student has been charged with felony unlawful imprisonment and indecent exposure after allegedly touching a girl inappropriately on a school bus March 1.
Four other students accused of aiding the now-14-year-old boy won’t be prosecuted if they meet conditions set under a diversion program in juvenile court, officials said.
Court papers filed Thursday shed light on what police and prosecutors believe happened during a bus ride that led to disciplinary action against seven boys from Marysville Middle School. The bus driver remains on paid administrative leave pending a separate investigation through the Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, school district officials said.
The victim, 13, said the boy put his bare buttocks and genitals on top of her head in two separate attacks during the same ride, according to court papers.
The boy gave police a similar account. He said he was not sexually aroused during the assaults and now realizes he made a terrible mistake.
He told police that other students helped push the girl down, and the girl seemed angry when he came back.
A police review of footage from the bus surveillance camera supported what investigators were told during interviews.
The incident began when the boy who was charged began tickling the girl and pushed her down between the bus seats until she was sitting on the floor.
The teen then made thrusting motions toward her before pulling down his pants and sitting on top of her head with his bare buttocks.
He left her there, but came back, unzipped his pants and touched her head with his testicles.
The girl was screaming at the boy to stop and trying to keep from being pushed to the ground.
Two boys, 11 and 12 at the time, appeared to be pushing the girl’s hands off the back of the seats in an effort to help the boy, court papers said of the video.
The attack ended when another girl grabbed the partially undressed boy by the hood of his sweatshirt and pulled him off of the victim, according to court papers.
Police and district officials said that the boys engaged in differing levels of misconduct.
Deputy prosecutor Cindy Larsen said the crimes the boy is charged with are not considered sex crimes and he won’t have to register as a sex offender if he is convicted. The indecent exposure count is a gross misdemeanor.
The boy wrote an apology letter to the victim, according to court papers.
The incident occurred near the middle of the bus on a morning run from neighborhoods in the north end of the district, officials said. There were about 40 students on board at the time.
Prosecutors said the video shows the bus ride was “loud and chaotic with students moving between seats frequently.”
The school district did not learn about the attack allegations until the next day.
School district officials said the surveillance camera on the bus caught events the bus driver didn’t see. The district randomly checks videotape from buses.
In March, four of the boys were expelled and three received long-term suspensions. After appeals, two remain expelled for a full calendar year and two others are suspended through the end of the school year.
Two boys went before a re-admission panel and are expected to return to classes before the end of the year. The seventh boy was allowed to return shortly after the incident. He is required to follow a safety plan that sets conditions of behavior he must abide.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.