Two First Transit employees were accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old Auburn University student late Friday while she was riding the bus, authorities said.
Tony Martin Patillo, 51, and James Johnson Jr., 32, were charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy. Patillo also faces four counts of public lewdness.
They were booked into the Lee County Jail, where Patillo is being held under bonds totaling $127,000 and Johnson under bonds totaling $125,000.
Auburn police were called to an area near North Dean Road around 11:50 p.m. to investigate a man who was exposed while standing over a woman.
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He was arrested on the scene and identified as Patillo, a First Transit employee.
Officials said it appears as if the woman was incapacitated when she got onto a bus near near Magnolia Avenue that’s operated by First Transit, a contractor hired by Auburn University to provide late-night transportation service to students.
Police said Patillo sexually assaulted her while she was on the bus. Johnson, who was driving the bus as an employee as First Transit, was accused of engaging in actions to perpetuate the crime while Patillo was allegedly in the rear of the bus sexually assaulting the student.
Officials said Patillo then exited the bus near North Dean Road with the victim. That’s allegedly when he was spotted standing over her.
AU released a statement Monday afternoon addressing the incident.
“Our top concern is the well-being of the victim, and we cannot stress in strong enough terms our shock and distress over this despicable act,” the statement reads. “We immediately provided support and all available resources to the victim and continue to do so.”
The university said it’s evaluating its future relationship with First Transit.
“The contractor is required to conduct thorough background checks on its employees and has terminated the employment of both suspects,” AU said. “We are evaluating the future of the university’s relationship with First Transit.”
Anyone with information about the incident is encouarged to call detectives at 334-501-3140, 24-hour non-emergency number at 334-501-3100 or the anonymous tip line at 334-246-1391.