GREAT BEND, Kan. — The sheriff’s office here has completed an investigation into an incident in which a student reported being sexually assaulted on a school bus and has recommended charges.

The Barton County Sheriff’s Office has concluded that its investigation supports evidence that crimes of aggravated criminal sodomy, battery, and criminal restraint occurred on a Great Bend Unified School District 428 bus on Feb. 3, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office .

The case was initially reported to the sheriff’s office on Feb. 6. It was believed at that time the incident occurred in Saline County. The case was consequently sent to the Saline County Sheriff’s Office, which referred it back to Barton County after discovery of new evidence.

Through various methods of investigation and numerous interviews, the sheriff’s office determined the crimes occurred in Barton County between 8:30 p.m. and 8:50 p.m. The sheriff’s office has identified one victim, 15, and one suspect, 17. Both are students at Great Bend High School. As previously reported, a student reported to the Saline County Sheriff's Department that he was sexually assaulted on a bus trip home from an athletic competition.

Because both the suspect and the victim are juveniles, their names have not been released.
The case was given to the Barton County Attorney’s Office on Monday. Although the sheriff’s office believes evidence supports the crimes, the final charging decision is up to the Barton County Attorney. The county attorney may request further investigation from the sheriff’s office.

On Wednesday, the school district released a statement that said it is concerned about the allegations, and it will “continue to focus on the safety and well-being of all of our students,” KWCH reports.

As previously reported, the district also released a statement on Feb. 22 that said it was revising its practices regarding adult monitoring and supervision on bus trips.

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