A Sitka teenager is facing charges of sexual abuse from incidents that allegedly occurred on a school bus.
A Sitka grand jury indicted 18-year-old Alexander Evans on five counts of sexual abuse of a minor. According to a complaint, the incidents occurred on a bus the high school student rode with younger students.
Evans is accused of molesting a 6-year-old girl repeatedly during the ride to school. According to the complaint, Evans admitted to 20 to 30 incidents of sexual contact with the girl since November.
Evans entered a plea of not guilty at arraignment and remains jailed.
Sitka School District Superintendent Steve Bradshaw says it’s not normal procedure for students from different schools to ride the same bus. But sometimes students in the upper grades, which start later, will come in early.
“We have teachers in the building at the high school and middle school level both that will work with kids during that time, from 8 a.m. until school starts,” Bradshaw said. “So if a kid lives quite a ways out, and they need a ride in because mom or dad can’t get them in, we try to accommodate that need.”
He says this year, only about 10 students have taken the early rides in to school. After the incidents came to light, Bradshaw says he talked with drivers and the bus company owners about procedures on the bus.
“What we’ve tried to do is say, ‘OK, if you’ve got some kids that are older, put them up front,’” Bradshaw said. “If the younger kids get on the bus – because we’re more likely to have kids miss the elementary bus in the morning and then try to flag down the secondary bus – when they do that we try to have the younger kids up front where the bus driver can keep an easier eye on them.”
More substantial changes to the way the district handles transportation would likely come from the Sitka School Board. Bradshaw says he will follow their wishes, and the wishes of the community.