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Maryland school bus driver accused of raping 12-year-old special education student on the bus
A Maryland bus driver is accused of raping a 12-year-old special education student. (Image source: WJZ-TV video screenshot)

Maryland school bus driver accused of raping 12-year-old special education student on the bus

Etienne K. Kabongo, a 62-year-old bus driver for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, has been accused of raping a 12-year-old special education student, according to WJZ-TV.

What are the details?

Police arrested Kabongo after the bus driver was reportedly caught on camera raping the 12-year-old special education student on July 31.

The reported incident occurred while Kabongo — who is also known as "Mr. Steve" to some students in the district — was driving the bus for students receiving special education services, according to WJZ.

The report explained that the bus stopped in Silver Spring, Maryland, and as the bus attendant left the bus to assist in dropping off another student, Kabongo reportedly took the opportunity to sexually assault the 12-year-old student.

Police arrested Kabongo — who has worked for the district since 2006 — on Sunday, and charged the bus driver with second-degree rape, third-degree sexual offense, and the sexual abuse of a minor. He is being held without bond, according to the station.

WJZ reported that investigators have concerns that Kabongo may have assaulted or abused other students, and implore the public to contact detectives at 240-773-5400 if they have any relevant information about Kabongo or other allegations of sexual misconduct.

What did the superintendent say?

Jack Smith, the superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, expressed his outrage at the allegations in a statement, according to The Daily Mail.

"Words cannot convey my anger, disgust and disappointment in the alleged behavior of Mr. Kabongo," Smith said. "Abusing a position of trust and authority to take advantage of the most vulnerable among us is despicable.

"This behavior is a violation of our values and policies, as well as the law, and it will not be tolerated," Smith added. "MCPS staff immediately contacted MCPD when we were made aware of these allegations."

Smith added the district is "fully cooperating" with the police investigation, noting that Kabongo was "immediately placed on leave" when the district was made aware of the allegations.

"Mr. Kabongo will not be returning to our buses or schools," the superintendent continued. "Our thoughts are with the students and families impacted by this. MCPS has coordinated with Tree House Child Advocacy Center to ensure counseling support and resources are available."

Smith also noted that the district is working toward equipping all school buses with cameras.

What else?

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Kabongo is being held without bond because he is considered a flight risk.

According to the Post report, Kabongo reportedly had plane tickets to fly from Newark, New Jersey, to Ethiopia on Tuesday.

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