MN mother details alleged molestation by student on school bus

CAMBRIDGE, Minn. (KARE11) When Stephanie Olson pulled her nine year old son, and other kids, out of Cambridge-Isanti Schools this fall, she says she felt like she was out of options.

This week, she says things got even worse.

"It was just kind of the last straw I guess," Olson said.

Olson says the family of another student came to her door in January, 2018, to explain that something horrible had happened.

"Their daughter had come to them, the morning before, and told them that there is a teenager on the bus that had been touching their son and my son," Olson said. "(My son) just put his head down and got emotional and said, 'Yeah, he's been touching me.'"

According to the Isanti County Sheriff's incident report, Stephanie's son then told investigators that the alleged abuser touched and squeezed his testicles outside his clothing for more than a year, beginning at age seven, and he "estimated that it has happened 50 or more separate times".

"He used bribery, he would bring toys and candy on the bus to keep them quiet, and he just scared them," Olson said. "He just told them that if they ever told anyone, he was going to hurt them."

According to report, the alleged abuser, is a 13 year old boy who has been diagnosed with a form of high-functioning autism. The investigator noted on the report that "after confronted, he spoke freely about his involvement and appeared remorseful".

The Sheriff's report also noted the teen had been questioned about a similar incident involving a student in 2016, but "It is unknown whether or not (the alleged abuser) was offered any services for treatment, counseling or therapy as a result of the investigation".

"My thoughts are, if something would have been done, my son and this other boy on the bus wouldn't have been targeted," Olson said.

And she says that remains a concern following the teen's court hearing yesterday. Joshua Johnson, attorney for the Olson family, says prosecutors charged the teen with 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct against each of the two alleged victims. But Johnson says those charges will now likely be suspended due to a recently completed psychological evaluation.

"He is not competent to stand trial," Olson said. "We don't really have details as to what they found or why they came to that conclusion."

The Isanti County Attorney will not discuss any aspect of the case, charges or evaluations because it involves a minor.

That's why Olson is now speaking out via Facebook, cautioning families about the incident and calling out school leaders.

"I feel like other people in the district need to be made aware that their kids could potentially be the next victim," Olson said.

The Cambridge-Isanti Superintendent, Dr. Ray Queener, sent the following statement to KARE 11:

"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."

Olson says her family isn't taking chances. They have moved out of the district, begun homeschooling their kids, and are preparing a lawsuit against the district.

"We feel like they aren't doing everything they can to keep our kids safe," she said.