16-year-old girl grabbed while walking to school in Lorton

- A 16-year-old Fairfax County girl was assaulted as she walked to school along a foot path parents say they’ve been complaining to school officials about for months. Police say the girl was walking the path along Silverbrook Road near Monacan Road in Lorton at about 7:45 am when she was attacked.

According to police, a man grabbed the teen from behind around her waist, and she screamed. The man ran off, heading south, and the girl immediately reported the alleged incident to her school resource officer. Officer checked the area, but the suspect has not been located.

Police said the suspect is described as a Hispanic man who has a mustache, and was wearing dark clothing, but no other specifics about his description were given. 

The controversial path is not far from South County Middle School and South County High School. It runs through a subdivision and continues through a wooded area before coming out onto Silverbrook Road or Monacan Road, depending how you walk. There is still some question as to exactly where on the path the assault occurred. 
 
Some parents told FOX 5 they have been telling Fairfax County school officials for months that they didn’t think the path was safe, and they wanted permission for their kids to take the bus instead—but that request was denied. 
 
One parent who lives on the other side of a nearby wooded area told FOX 5 she doesn't want her kids to walk down the path. Jennifer Lopez said she's been telling Fairfax County school officials and school board members since last fall that the path wasn't safe, and she wanted her daughter to be granted a waiver to take the bus instead. Lopez's family lives within a 1.5-mile radius of her school, which means she doesn't qualify as a bus rider. 
 
Lopez says school officials came out to the neighborhood last fall and walked the path with the family so they could experience it for themselves. After that trip, she said, school officials responded with an email that said the path was deemed safe because nothing had happened there. Lopez said she feels that's not an acceptable policy and now that something has happened, her concerns have been validated. She told FOX 5 she believes it was only a matter of time before there was an incident. 
 
A Fairfax County Schools spokesperson told FOX 5 that as a result of Tuesday's attack, school officials will go back out to the path and look at it again, and that they may be able to grant exceptions for students who want to take the bus instead of walking the path. 

Anyone with information about the suspect or the incident is asked to call Fairfax County Police Officer C. Petrovich at 703-690-5517. You can also contact Crime Solvers at by calling 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or online at http://www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org. Tips can also be submitted by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES(274637).

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