Rutherford County school bus driver Joe Bond said, for safety sake, he looks straight ahead when hauling kids.
“I’ve been a bus driver for six years. I love my camera. I wouldn’t drive without one,” said Bond.
On Wednesday, his camera saw something Bond said he did not. A 14-year-old Riverdale High student was raped as the bus was traveling down the road, said police.
Brandon Stover, 18, a Senior at Riverdale High School, has been charged with sexual battery and rape.
“Did she say, ‘No?’” asked reporter Cynthia Williams.
“I didn’t hear it. I’ve got 60 kids on the bus all talking, cutting up, laughing,” said Bond.
Bond said it wasn’t until the bus stopped, and the girl was leaving did she tell him she’d been “groped” and urged him to look at the tape.
“Did she look upset?” asked Williams.
“A little scared maybe, but not really upset. She didn’t want anybody to know she turned him in,” said Bond.
Bond said that when he saw the tape, he saw pushing, but nothing that would indicate what Murfreesboro police said was clearly rape.
“In this case, our suspect actually reached into the pants of our victim and there was penetration when that occurred. So, that is considered rape,” said Murfreesboro police spokesman Kyle Evans.
The girl was sitting in the middle of the bus next to the window, about 15 or 20 feet from the bus driver.
If he didn’t have a clear visual of what was going on, police wonder why Bond did not immediately call authorities with what little he knew from the 14-year-old, police said.
“Who would I report to? I didn’t have the supervisor’s number,” said Bond.
“How about police?” asked Williams.
“She didn’t say anything about being rape. She said she had been groped,” said Bond.
It was the child’s parents who showed up at Riverdale High School the next day and reported what allegedly had happened.
Stover was arrested at school Friday and expelled the rest of the school year.
Police said they are still not convinced about what the bus driver saw. They also said Stover wasn’t a regular rider of the bus, and they said they believe he randomly chose the girl.
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