A Pinellas County mother is demanding answers after a 17-year-old, whose history of sexual violence is well known to a school, was able to get her son, 11, off campus without anyone noticing.
The two boys attend Pinellas Secondary School, which serves students from sixth to twelfth grade. This is an involuntary disciplinary program for students who have committed a serious violation of the Code of Student Conduct, a district spokesperson said.
The 11-year-old's mother, who ABC Action News is not identifying in order to protect her son, said the 17-year-old lured her son off campus with the promise of a fast-food lunch.
"You send your kids to school and you expect them to be safe," she said.
The 17-year-old has a known history of sexual violence. In 2013, one mother told investigators he forced himself on her 8-year-old son at Calvin Hunsinger Elementary in Clearwater.
The juvenile justice system then placed the then 14-year-old in a group home in Hillsborough County, where a second assault allegedly occurred. Hillsborough County deputies arrested him in August 2013 and charged him with lewd and lascivious molestation of a victim under the age of 18.
According to the Pinellas County mother who said her 8-year-old son was attacked in 2013, the suspect was sentenced to an out of state program, which required 18 months of intensive therapy. She said she never heard any additional information about the suspect, which is why she was surprised he was in trouble again for something similar.
"Well maybe he has completed it (the program). Wow. Well that would have been nice for the state attorney's office to maybe let us know, you know. My son was a victim of a heinous crime," the mother said.
ABC Action News reached out to the state attorney's office and we are waiting for more information from the agency.
The mother of boy who was 8 at the time said she wished she would have been contacted that the suspect was placed in a new school close to her home.
"I found out that he was placed at Pinellas Secondary, which is -it's 5 blocks from where I live. This is a big county. I find it…just ..I'm completely outraged," she said.
The school system told ABC Action News they are not obligated to inform a party when a student is transferred to a new school. They added the safety and security of students is important. But, the mother of the boy who was 8 at the time of the incident said she would like to see some changes.
"I think the parents deserve to know and that is just wrong. It's broken. It's not right again I believe the administration is more concerned with protecting the privacy rights of this child than they are with the safety of the students," she said.
The mother of the 11-year-old boy said the suspect is supposed to have round-the-clock supervision at Pinellas Secondary School, but somehow the teen was able to pass a note to her son and leave the campus.
She said he took him behind some abandoned buildings and eventually tried sexually assaulting him in a wooded area.
"Bear-hugged him from behind and attempted to sexually assault him." the mother said.
She said her son was able to fake an asthma attack during the assault and was able to convince the teenager to let him call his mother in a nearby office building.
"He told the woman at the office, 'He's trying to rape me.' She said, 'What?' He said, 'He is literally trying to rape me.'"
Pinellas Park Police Department arrested the teenager and charged him with two felonies, including lewd and lascivious conduct and interfering with parental custody. He later admitted to police that he tried to sexually assault the 11-year-old and has a preference for younger boys.
Now, this mother wants to know how her son was able to leave what she thought was a secure school campus and why this teenager was allowed to be in contact with her son.
She said her son is already forever changed.
"How does this affect him for the rest of his life?" she said.
Now, her son is not in school because he told his mother he does not feel safe. She has hired an attorney.
Pinellas County Schools said it couldn't say much on this matter due to student privacy rights, but sent ABC Action News this statement:
"Pinellas County Schools takes the safety and security of our students seriously. All of the school district's in-school suspension rooms are supervised by qualified staff who are routinely trained on how to best serve students."
It's unclear when or if the teenager will be released from custody. It is also unknown at this time if he will face charges as an adult.