A 15-year-old juvenile has been charged in connection with a sexual assault on a Barrow County school bus Thursday, Feb. 11.

Sheriff Jud Smith said the incident occurred off campus Thursday afternoon, when, according to investigators, the male juvenile, whose name is not being released, groped two 15-year-old female students and forced them to grope him. Family members of the victims reported the incident to a school resource officer and, after video footage of the incident was reviewed, authorities arrested the male and processed him through the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

Smith said the male has been charged with sexual battery and misdemeanor child molestation under the state’s “Romeo and Juliet” law, which applies to victims who are 14 to 16 years old and offenders who are 18 or younger and no more than four years older than the victim or victims. He was turned back over to his family Thursday night after being processed.

Smith said investigators believe the incident was an isolated one and that no activity between the offender and victims occurred any other day or on campus.

Barrow County School System superintendent Chris McMichael said the offender attended Apalachee High School and the district's internal investigation remains ongoing. 

"The school and the system took immediate action upon learning of the incident," McMichael said. "Once the investigation is complete on the school's end we will swiftly implement the appropriate disciplinary action."

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