Two Auburn University bus drivers have been charged in the alleged rape of a student on one of the school’s buses.
According to the Auburn city police department, James Don Johnson Junior, 32, of Auburn, Alabama, and Tony Martin Patillo, 51, of Columbus, Georgia, were arrested on Saturday, September 16 following the alleged rape on Friday.
Both Johnson and Patillo have been charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy.
On Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, around 11:50 pm, the Auburn Police Division received a report of a male exposing himself while standing over a female in the 700 block of Aspen Heights Lane in Auburn.
Officers located Patillo near the roadway and arrested him. Police were unable to locate the female at the time of the initial report. Patillo was arrested on four counts of public lewdness and was taken to the Lee County Jail. Further investigation revealed that a female, who appeared to be incapacitated, entered a bus operated by First Transit, contracted by Tiger Transit, near Magnolia Avenue in Auburn.
While on the bus, she was sexually assaulted by Patillo, an employee of First Transit.
The investigation further determined that Johnson, who was driving the bus, engaged in actions to continue the crime while Patillo was in the rear of the bus assaulting the victim.
Patillo later left the bus near Aspen Heights Lane with the female victim and he was observed by a passerby standing over her. Investigators were eventually able to identify, contact, and interview the victim, an 18-year-old female.
Auburn University released a statement about the incident:
“Two arrests have been made resulting from a sexual assault that occurred early Saturday morning.
“Auburn University is working with the City of Auburn Police Division in their investigation. Our top concern is the well-being of the victim, and we cannot stress in strong enough terms our shock and distress over this despicable act. We immediately provided support and all available resources to the victim and continue to do so.
“The suspects were employees of First Transit, the contractor hired by Auburn to provide late night transportation service for students. The contractor is required to conduct thorough background checks on its employees and has terminated the employment of both suspects. We are evaluating the future of the University’s relationship with First Transit. As this is the subject of an ongoing investigation, further questions should be directed to the Auburn Police Division.”
Patillo is being held on $127,000 bond while Johnson is eligible for a $125,000 bond. Both are being held at Lee County Jail.
Auburn University police officers are still investigating the crime and ask anyone with information to call detectives at 334-501-3140.
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