Girls say boy assaulted them on school band trip

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BELOIT - A freshman boy has been accused of sexually abusing three Beloit Memorial High School girls while on a band trip to Florida.

The issue is being widely discussed in Beloit on social media. A number of parents and social media users are raising questions about what discipline the boy may face, and whether students can feel safe.

The Beloit Daily News has obtained an April 7 informational report filed with the Orange County, Florida, Sheriff's Office. According to the police report, the freshman boy allegedly first inappropriately touched a girl. In another incident, while the students on the bus were sleeping, he sexually assaulted a girl for 20 minutes. The girl told police she was too fearful to tell him to stop.

When law enforcement responded on April 7, a girl told deputies the first alleged incident occurred on April 3 while riding on a coach bus en route to Florida, somewhere between Tennessee and Georgia.

According to the report, a third victim also claimed the student inappropriately touched her without permission while at an unspecified water park while on the trip. The report claims the student was "being super touchy on the lazy river and wave pool."

The third victim told the deputy the student touched her in inappropriate places and rubbed himself against her without permission. She also said the student continued making inappropriate comments, and that she told the student "no throughout the day," before the boy allegedly sexually assaulted her in a stairwell of the hotel before she ran away to her room.

All contact with law enforcement came while the band group was at the Embassy Suites Hotel on Palm Parkway in Orlando.

The report states the deputy notified the Florida Department of Children and Families of the incident and spoke with an investigator. After speaking with a sex crimes detective at the sheriff's office, the detective advised the report be forwarded "to the appropriate jurisdiction."

According to Orange County Public Information Officer Deputy Christian Marrero, Orange County detectives were "unable to determine jurisdiction," and subsequently sent the incident report to of the Beloit Police Department.

But according to Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski, Beloit police are not investigating the alleged incident "as it would not be in our jurisdiction."

The district's new interim superintendent, Tony Bosco, said he could not comment on the incident because it's under investigation and would not answer any further questions. He said the district would be releasing a comment later in the day.

Band Director Chris Behrens said the trip consisted of 90 students who were in the concert band, wind ensemble and both jazz bands.

The band was on the trip from April 3-9, and students were staying in an Orlando, Florida hotel after they arrived there via bus. The trip consisted of sightseeing and performances. Students spent three days at Disney World parks and two days at Universal Studios. There was a Festival Disney Competition where the wind ensemble and both jazz bands performed. Then, all 90 students performed at Universal Studios. Behrens said the performances were on April 5 and 11 a.m. on April 7. Law enforcement was immediately contacted after chaperones were made aware of the incident on the evening of April 7.

According to the deputy's report, "both" parents were notified and neither wanted to press charges at the time of law enforcement contact.

However, the Beloit Daily News spoke with one victim's mother on Tuesday, who denied ever being contacted by the sheriff's office from Florida.

The mother said she intends to contact Florida authorities today to ask for criminal charges.

At this time, the Beloit Daily News is not identifying any of the juveniles, or their families.

The victim's mother said the boy cornered her daughter in a stairway of the hotel and sexually assaulted her. She said her daughter alerted chaperones.

"The chaperones called me and said 'we wanted to let you know this allegedly happened and there are other girls who came forward and we've called the police and they will open an investigation when we get back,'" the mother said.

Her daughter told her about the incident when she returned from the trip and her gave a statement to School District of Beloit staff. Later, two principals called and said they would be opening an investigation and would keep the mother informed.

As of Tuesday, though, the mother said she had not heard from the school district.

She also said the district had not offered her daughter any counseling or services.

"She is completely shut down," the mother said. "She feels upset because she feels like it doesn't even matter and that no one is doing anything about it."

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