CAMBRIDGE, Minn. (KMSP) - A Minnesota family is speaking out after their young son was allegedly sexually assaulted by an older student.
The parents say it happened repeatedly onboard a Cambridge-Isanti school bus. Now, they’re arguing the system is broken - especially when it comes to juvenile privacy laws.
According to the parents, the teenage suspect assaulted at least one other student in the past, yet no one was warned about it.
“We’re super angry. We feel really let down by the system, by the school and by the courts,” mother Stephanie Olson said.
So, Olson took her frustrations to Facebook in a post that quickly exploded.
“There’s a big gap in the system, and that needs to be fixed. It’s broken,” she said.
Olson said her 9-year-old son was sexually assaulted on the school bus numerous times. When she found out back in January, she also learned there was another young victim, so they immediately went to police.
The alleged assailant, a middle schooler, was reported to have groomed the boys with toys, candy and threats of violence.
“The victim’s advocate told me, ‘he’s gonna do this again. He is a predatory offender who looks for his next victim. It’s going to happen again,’” Olson said.
Meanwhile, Olson said that due to the suspect’s age, no one can talk about the case publicly, as he is covered by privacy laws.
She says the suspect remained in school and on buses where he apparently hurt others.
On Tuesday, Olson left a hearing in juvenile court where a judge apparently declared the suspect incompetent to stand trial on any assault charges. That left the Olsons believing there would be no true consequences and it was their responsibility to warn other parents in the district.
“We feel people need to start talking to their kids to keep them safe because no one is keeping them safe right now,” Olson said.
The Olsons have since moved out of the district and are currently homeschooling their young son.
The family also said they've seen surveillance video from the bus that corroborates the allegations, and they are preparing to take legal action against the school district.
Due to the privacy laws, no one else is able to comment on the specific allegations.
Statement from Dr. Ray Queener, superintendent of Cambridge-Isanti Schools:
Cambridge-Isanti Schools is aware of a Facebook post regarding allegations of student misconduct. We understand this is a difficult, sensitive topic. We deeply sympathize with all families involved. While we value transparency, the district adheres to data privacy laws which protect all students' educational data. The law restricts the district from providing specific information regarding this matter, however, safeguards have been in place since the district was first informed of the allegations. Information stating the district failed to act is inaccurate. The district responded immediately and appropriately based on the information it was provided and continues to act in accordance with the law and district policy. At Cambridge-Isanti Schools, we take student safety seriously. We work diligently each day to put safeguards in place to support safety efforts on our buses and in our schools.