CLINTON, Md. - The father of one of the students who was allegedly molested on a school bus in Prince George's County gave a tearful account of what he says happened as he spoke to reporters Tuesday. The father, who asked his face not be shown, said that he knew of school bus surveillance video of the alleged assault that involved his 4-year-old son.
"Me as a father, I'll pick my kids up if I have to. I tried my best to protect my kids…to let nothing happen to them," he said holding back tears. "There were several kids who say that they viewed the video and said that they noticed the suspect who is the bus aide go from one seat to another fondling kids."
The man's son is one of four students who says they were allegedly molested by a Prince George's County elementary school aide on a school bus earlier this year. The alleged victims attended James Ryder Randall Elementary School in Clinton, Md. Investigators said that incident took place on May 24, but police weren't notified by Child Protective Services until June 20.
Prince George's County Schools have come under fire recently after millions of dollars in funding for their Head Start program was pulled this year because of repeated allegations of teachers using harsh and unusual punishment to discipline students.
Earlier this year, 22-year-old Deonte Carraway, a former teacher’s assistant at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden, was indicted on 270 child sex abuse and porn charges involving children on school grounds.
Also on Tuesday, Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell announced that the principal at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School has been placed on administrative leave after an allegation n was made via email. Maxwell would not elaborate on what that allegation was about, but said that it has been sent to local officials. That principal is new to the school this school year.
Prince George's County Rushern Baker agreed with callers during a radio show Tuesday night, who said the county reacted too slow. "That is one of the conversations I had with Dr. Maxwell. A couple of things – one, when we know about these incident making sure we get out in front of them – by doing everything we could and making sure parents are aware."
Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell spoke with FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick Wednesday and said in the past, allegations of abuse in the county had not been properly reported. "When the first cases came to our awareness last year at Judge Sylvania Woods, for example, our concern was people just didn't seem to know what they were supposed to be doing - which they should."
"We went through a tremendous effort to retrain everybody who works for us, and we've seen a significant uptick in the number of reports that are coming to us," Maxwell said. “Now, some of those get screened out - they're not really valid allegations. But out of the abundance of caution, people are doing exactly what we told them to do which was report."
He also said that when multiple agencies are involved it takes time to process the investigation and the county is working on ways to streamline new reports while conducting proper review of alleged incidents.
"We have a process for investigating things, and not everything comes to me immediately. it comes after the review, after the investigation. Because, again, some of these allegations turn out not to be true - in fact there's still no charges in this case," he said.
“I hope that Prince George’s County is able to police itself,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan at an event Tuesday night. He said that he didn’t have all the facts at this point in the investigation and that the state would take a look into the case.