HomeSchools & YouthBurbank Unified Stresses Child Safety After Alleged Assault

Burbank Unified Stresses Child Safety After Alleged Assault

The Burbank Unified School District this week advised that children walking home from school should do so in groups and near high-visibility areas such as populated streets, after a man allegedly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl who was walking home from school on April 19. 

A suspect has been arrested and charged for felony sexual battery on a child.

The victim, a 13-year-old female, reported that she was walking home after school in the area of Victory Boulevard and Alameda Avenue when a man allegedly approached her, made sexually inappropriate comments to her and grabbed her buttocks under her shorts, according to police.

Last Friday at about 3:45 p.m., police officers were dispatched regarding the possible assault. The child was located, and she provided police with the suspect’s description and his last known direction. Officers were able to locate the suspect a short distance away and placed him under arrest.

The suspect was identified as a 42-year-old man, whom police said was homeless, according to a Burbank Police Department statement.

The man was booked for felony sexual battery on a child. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office reviewed the case and filed one felony count of lewd acts on a child less than 14 years of age, and one misdemeanor count of child annoyance.

The suspect was arraigned Tuesday and remains in custody on a $100,000 bond.

“Student safety is our priority, and we are committed to ensuring the security of our students. Please remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the authorities,” Superintendent John Paramo stated in a districtwide bulletin with updates on the arrest and best practices for students and parents to be aware of as they plan their daily commutes.

“Walking home from school can be a routine part of many students’ daily lives, but it is essential that we take proactive steps to minimize risks and ensure the safety of our students.”

Paramo advised parents to encourage their children to walk home with a friend or a group, and stressed the safety benefits of remaining in public, high-visibility areas.

“Remind your students to walk in public, visible areas. Visibility is crucial,” Paramo said. “Encourage your child to not be distracted by their cellphone and earbuds.”

He added that children should have easy access to emergency contact information and said children should report any suspicious activity to the school, the BPD or an adult authority figure immediately.

“As always, our district remains committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all our students. We will continue to partner with the Burbank Police Department and our Burbank Unified School District officials to address safety concerns and implement measures to enhance security on or around our campuses,” Paramo said.

Police said Friday the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information related to this case is asked to call the Burbank Police Department Domestic and Family Crimes Unit at (818) 238-3210.

First published in the April 27 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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