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    Firefighters are at the scene of a 2nd alarm fire in Tolland County, dispatch confirms.

    Tolland Fire Department saw heavy flames when they arrived to a basement fire on 303 Sugar Hill Road in Tolland. 

    This story is developing. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: Tolland Alert

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    A Derby man has been arrested after police launched an investigation into two sudden deaths caused from suspected heroin overdoses and two other medical emergencies related to heroin, police said.

    Bradley Commerford, 20, of Derby, is accused of allegedly selling and delivering heroin to at least one of the fatal overdoses in Derby and two non-fatal overdoses in Shelton.  

    A task force made up of the U.S. Attorney's Office, DEA New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad, detectives from Derby, Shelton, Ansonia and Monroe Police Departments came together to find the source of the heroin connected to the overdoses. 

    Police are warning the public about a sudden increase in overdoses and fatalities associated with the drug. 

    The investigation is ongoing. 



    Photo Credit: Derby Police

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    Two men have been arrested in connection to selling tainted heroin and cocaine, Town of Groton Police said. 

    Herbert Villarini, 25, of New London, and Daquan A. Lancaster, 20, of Uncasville, were both placed under arrest after an investigation was launched into tainted heroin being sold in southeastern Connecticut. 

    When officers seized Villarini's home, they found 10 grams of packaged heroin, cash and two cell phones. Police said they later discovered the heroin was laced with fentanyl which has been reported to be the cause of recent overdoses in the area. Villarini is already a convicted felon involved in four pending cases, police said. 

    At Lancaster's home, police found 3.5 grams of cocaine, cash and a cell phone. Lancaster is a convicted felon already under probation for second degree assault, police said. 

    Villarini is accused of possession of heroin, intent to sell and possession of a half an ounce of marijuana. Lancaster faces charges including possession of cocaine, intent to sell, possession of narcotics and failure to keep narcotic in proper container. 

    It is not clear if either have attorneys. 



    Photo Credit: Groton Town Police

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    An 8th grader from Middletown collapsed during an after school activity for the basketball team, the superintendent said.

    Jose Trinidad was rushed to Middlesex Hospital and pronounced dead after collapsing in the gym of Woodrow Wilson Middle School on Thursday, Middletown Superintendent Patricia Charles said. 

    The basketball team was celebrating the end of the season. 

    "A smile and a joke," Charles said about Trinidad. "He wasn't the basketball star but he was such a leader because he never gave up."

    Woodrow Wilson Middle School will provide counseling for anyone in the community from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. 



    Photo Credit: Middletown Public Schools

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    The sewage treatment plant in Killingly has seen better days in its forty years of operation. Every day someone there has to deal with disposable wipes.

    Gerry Cinq Mars, chairman of the Killingly Water Pollution Control Authority, said, "They do not disintegrate in the process we have at the present time."

    Instead of dissolving in the waters of the sewage plant they congeal into big spheres of debris.

    "We literally have to remove it, in some cases, by crane because it gets too heavy," he said. It's a problem for sewage treatment plants in towns both large and small.

    Now, he said, the plant's going to be rebuilt but without a solution to the mounds of muck.

    On the back of a baby wipes packet it does read: "Do not flush."

     "Throw them in the trash, so on and so forth. They go to the dump-- well, fine that can be buried," said Cinq Mars.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Have you ever wanted to try a jump in a terrain park? Or slide down a rail on the slopes?

    Ski Sundown started the Girls Rock the Park event 3 years ago to make their terrain parks feel more welcoming

    "It's a learning environment it's a session about how to approach features rotating them through a couple of smaller features building their confidence and then making them feel comfortable coming back and trying it any time" says Marketing Director Lori Shield.

    "Honestly you don't see that many girls out there,” says snowboarder Janelle Boratko. “So I think when they see that there's just boys they might get a little caught off guard by it so it's going to be awesome to have this event"

    In addition to having fresh and new features for skiers and snowboarders alike to try, part of the fun is just in the company.

    Shield explains, "There's tons of camaraderie and I think that's another thing that the girls should really feel welcome knowing"

    If you're not familiar with terrain parks, that's ok! There will be instructors at the event teaching you along the way.

    "What we're doing now is changing out features in our park and making them more introductory in nature,” says Ski Sport School Director Jarrod Moss, “So that people who have no experience in the parks can find some features that may be appealing to them"

    Registration is at the lodge from 9:30 to noon on Saturday. All you need to participate is $5 a helmet, a lift ticket and a signed waiver.

    It will feel a bit like spring skiing in southern New England this weekend with high temperatures near 50. There's a small chance for a wintry mix Saturday early in the day with mostly cloudy skies followed by Sunday on Sunday. Northern New England will be slightly cooler in the 40s with the chance for rain or snow on Saturday with mostly cloudy skies for Sunday.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Dennis Murphy, on the job at Connecticut's most troubled state agency for just four days, told lawmakers that despite some bad headlines, things have in fact improved.

    He described how wait times averaged two hours and forty five minutes back in August when the new glitch-riddled 3M computer software became active. As of last month, wait times are now averaging slightly less than 45 minutes.

    "Our job now is to fix the problems and address customer concern," Dennis Murphy, a former Deputy Labor Commissioner told the Joint Appropriations Committee as he discussed the agency's funding needs for the next fiscal year.

    Republican Rep. Melissa Ziobron, who recently proposed legislation to privatize functions of the DMV, had been waiting to unleash some of her frustrations in such a forum.

    Murphy and the DMV staff in attendance provided her a free swing of sorts, by presenting a budget with no reductions compared to last year. Each state agency was tasked to present budgets with 5.75 percent across the board cuts.

    "Show us how you would cut some of your budget," Rep. Ziobron, (R - East Haddam) said. "I think that the taxpayers should see that there is a shared sacrifice and that DMV is sharing in that sacrifice as well.”

    Ziobron pushed her proposal to move some functions into private enterprise for the sake of taxpayers, which both Murphy and Gov. Malloy have endorsed.

    "I am asking you on behalf of every taxpayer in this state to really troubleshoot and expand the opportunities you already have in place. You have computers, you have systems in place at AAA and dealerships across the state that could be better utilized."

    Murphy says he will present lawmakers with an adjusted budget at a later time and reiterated what he believes is his purpose as he temporarily leads the agency.

    "Please know that the DMV has the customers interest as a top priority and we want to improve customer service on a continuous basis."



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    South Carolina is notorious in the political world for stripping the layers of civility off of campaigns, revealing the darker underbelly often associated with politics.

    This year is no exception.

    As NBC News reports, the intensity of the attacks has escalated and the antics have become more questionable than in previous months.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    A man holds a sign in front of supporters of Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) prior to a CBS News GOP Debate February 13, 2016 outside the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina.A man holds a sign in front of supporters of Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) prior to a CBS News GOP Debate February 13, 2016 outside the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina.

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    A New York man, who was arrested thanks to cold-case playing cards given to inmates, was found guilty to a 2008 murder in Norwich. 

    Police arrested Jose Ramos, 29, in September 2012 after he was identified by cold-case playing cards given to inmates.

    Hardwick’s murder was listed on the ace of spades.

    Ramos was accused of shooting and killing Tynell “Blue” Hardwick, 29, of Norwich, in a drive-by shooting in 2008.

    Hardwick was with friends at Rumors Cafe at 88 Boswell Avenue in Norwich on the night of Oct. 10, left around 11:45 p.m. with his friend and was shot, police said.

    Ramos could be sentenced to anywhere between 25 to 60 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Apr. 29, 2016.

      
     


    Jose Ramos, left, is accused of shooting and killing Tynell Hardwick.Jose Ramos, left, is accused of shooting and killing Tynell Hardwick.

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    A 23-year-old Wolcott man is believed to have gone into hiding in New York after learning he is suspected of setting fires at a pizza shop while angry about an order, authorities said.

    Scott Basile, 23, of Wolcott, has been missing since early January, just a couple days after he was last in touch with Waterbury police, ​who were investigating several reports of arson, attempted arson and criminal mischief at Fratelli’s Pizzeria at 689 Hill Street in the north end of Waterbury.

    Staff of Fratelli’s said the fired caused around $25,000 worth of damage.

    Waterbury deputy police chief Fernando Spagnolo said they identified Basille as a suspect and obtained a warrant charging him with criminal attempt at arson in the first degree and manufacturing of bombs in connection with an incident on Christmas Day.  

    "There was a dispute about an order. He was very, very upset about it, apparently, and obviously didn't get over it," Spagnolo said. "It was minor in question. There was a dispute over the order. The order was contaminated with a bolt that had probably fallen out of a dough machine, or something, and he came back to the restaurant and caused quite a stink."

    Francisco Avendano, the manager of Fratelli's Pizzeria, said something from the cooler must have gone in the pizza and that it was not intentional.

    "I said that didn’t happen on purpose. I guess something got loose in my covers, my cooler covers something," Avendano said

    Spagnolo said police had surveillance set up at the business because of all the incidents and Basile showed up on Christmas Day with ​what police believe is evidence he was about to cause damage.

    When Basile saw an officer there, he allegedly ran off and several agencies were called in to pursue him.

    At that time, police had not yet identified Basile by name, but said he left behind a 20-pound propane tank that was two-thirds full with a manipulated regulator, along with Molotov cocktails, and investigators were able to identify him through DNA.

    Police said they are continuing to investigate six other incidents in December and had been in touch with Basile up through New Year's Eve.

    Basile disappeared on Jan. 2. His mother told NBC Connecticut that he told her he was going to the bank, then to visit someone, and would be back, but he never returned. She has not heard from his since.

    His family said on Friday they had no idea there was a warrant out for Basile's arrest.

    After leaving home, Basile did go to a bank in Cheshire on Jan. 2, and then went to one at a Stop & Shop in Norwich on Jan. 3, where he withdrew the rest of his money. In the days that followed, it appears he was in New York City. His vehicle was spotted more than 20 times and a ticket was issued on  Jan. 5 in New York, while Basile was heading back to Connecticut, police said.

    On Jan. 7, police found his car was crashed into a utility pole in Stamford.

    Police later determined that Basile was not in the car at the time of the crash. He had abandoned it and the person who was behind the wheel was high, nodded off and crashed, police said.

    Police found people Basile had been with when they checked his car for DNA and interviews with those people provided more information that made police believe that Basile's disappearance was intentional.

    "I believe he did leave the car to not leave a trace. As a matter of fact, we received other information that his cell phone, that he purposely left at home the days leading up to this, because he was paranoid that people were watching him," Wolcott Police Chief Edward Stephens said.

    Basile had tried to sell his phone, but no one would buy it and he also tried to get people to bring him to Brooklyn, New York, police said.

    "We don't know if he's still in Brooklyn, New York. He's had a month headstart," Stephens said.

    This case will remain a missing person case, according to police, and they hope he is found safe.

    Scott Basile is 5-feet-11, weighs 220 pounds and has black hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark gray/black hoodie with matching pants.

    His family started a Facebook page to help find him.

    Police in Wolcott, Waterbury and New York City are now all working on the case.

    Anyone with information on Basile’s whereabouts should contact Wolcott police at 203-879-1414.


    Scott Basile going through the toll in New York after he was reported missing.Scott Basile going through the toll in New York after he was reported missing.

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    The family of Jason Smith told reporters Friday they think the system in Connecticut for financial claims relating to wrongful convictions failed them and rewarded who they maintain killed Smith.

    "To see that they’re just about to get millions of dollars, there’s no justice in that," said Raymona Holloway, Smith's cousin.

    Smith was killed in 1996 in a shooting that New Haven Police characterized as gang violence. Four men were convicted of the crime the following year and served prison sentences until 2013.

    In 2013, the prosecution's key witness was found to have perjured himself, fabricating testimony on the witness stand, and the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned the convictions.

    The court ruled at the time that there was enough evidence to prove guilt but the problems with the witness were enough to change the fates of the four men.

    The state's Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr., who provided Gov. Dannel Malloy with his resignation last week, approved wrongful conviction claims totaling $16 million, four million for each individual.

    "I feel that it’s so wrong for somebody to be guilty and get paid for killing someone," said Robin Nelson, the mother of Jason Smith.

    Republican Sen. Len Fasano, who voted for the system that created the existing system of financial claims for wrongful convictions in 2008, said changes are needed in the system to avoid something like this from happening again.

    Fasano pointed out that the threshold for innocence compared to not guilty are different depending on civil or criminal proceedings.

    In Connecticut, Fasano argues, it's too much power for one person, in this case it was J. Paul Vance Jr.

    "Right now we need to fix it or this state could have many claims against it and have other wrongful conviction issues before it," he said during the press conference.

    Rep. William Tong, (D - Stamford), who chairs the Judiciary Committee said he would be open to a discussion about some kind of appeals process for payments related to wrongful convictions.

    The attorney for the four men who received the payments two weeks ago said in a statement to NBC Connecticut that the payments were proper because the men served time for crimes that the legal system has now established they did not commit.

    "It is a foundation of American criminal justice that persons are innocent until proven guilty, and because these four men have never been proven guilty, they are innocent," said Victor Sipos, a Utah based defense attorney.

    Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen's office also opposed the payments, and filed statements with the claims commissioner but they were eventually disregarded.

    Deputy Attorney General Perry Zinn Rowthorn wrote in a statement: "This office filed a position statement in the four related claims recently decided by the Claims Commissioner arguing that they should be denied for failure to demonstrate actual innocence as required by the statute."

    He added that the current system for payments is meant for them to be immediate, and therefore not reviewable by the legislature or any other body, which is what some lawmakers want to see changed by the end of the legislative session.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Two Serbian embassy staff members kidnapped in Libya were among nearly 50 people killed in U.S. air strikes on an ISIS compound, Serbia's prime minister said on Saturday, NBC News reported.

    Sladjana Stankovic and Jovica Stepic were taken hostage on Nov. 8 after their diplomatic convoy, including the ambassador, came under fire near the coastal city of Sabratha.

    U.S. fighter jets launched airstrikes against an ISIS compound in Libya overnight as they targeted a terrorist linked to tourist massacres in Tunisia, American military officials said.

    A senior U.S. official told NBC News the airstrike likely killed Tunisian ISIS operative Noureddine Chouchane. The 36-year-old jihadist was directly linked to the two 2015 attacks in Tunisia, one on a resort hotel in Sousse and the other on the Bardo Museum in Tunis, officials said.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    People gather around a damaged area after U.S. warplanes carried out air strikes against Daesh training camp in western Libya on February 19, 2016.People gather around a damaged area after U.S. warplanes carried out air strikes against Daesh training camp in western Libya on February 19, 2016.

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    A 35-year-old man was shot after police said he stopped to ask two men for directions in Hartford.

    At around 10:20 pm on Friday, Hartford Police responded to a report of a serious assault with a firearm on Litchfield Street.

    The victim told police he had asked two unknown suspects for directions before the men entered his car. One suspect pulled out a silver handgun and shot the victim in the abdomen, according to Hartford Police. The victim told police he was able to get out of the car and flee.

    The suspects stole the man's black 2008 Honda Accord with Conn. license plates and fled the scene.

    Police began to canvas the area after the victim was unable to give them the location of the incident or a detailed description of the men who assaulted him.

    Officials say the circumstances are considered suspicious and consistent with drug related crimes. The man who was shot appeared to be intoxicated or under the influence of narcotics, police said.

    The victim is in serious but stable condition.

    The investigation is active.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    There is a large water main break on Memorial Drive near High Street in Willimantic, police confirmed.

    Traffic is being diverted and Corporal Stanley Parizo, Jr. said traffic will be affected until at least 7 or 8 p.m. on Saturday night. 

    The main break is in close proximity of the Eastern Connecticut State University and police ask anyone going to the campus steer clear of this area for the next several hours. 

     No other information was provided at this time. 



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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    A Redwood City man on vacation in Hawaii jumped into the water to help save a family whose sight-seeing helicopter crashed in Pearl Harbor Thursday.

    That man, Scott Burner, said he saw the helicopter in trouble 500 feet from the shore.

    “It was sputtering around and coming closer and closer to shore,” Burner said.

    Burner credits the pilot of the helicopter with trying to save the family of four on board.

    “He did a pretty darn good job of landing as close to shore as he probably could. [The pilot] probably knew he was in distress."

    Burner, a private pilot visiting family in Hawaii, said he tried to save the survivors.

    “I jumped the wall, got through some bushes and jumped in the water,” Burner said. “I was the first guy in the water and trying to figure out who was in the water."

    Burner said he helped the mother to shore. The mother was calling for her teenage son who was stuck in his seat underwater for minutes. The boy remained in critical condition at a local hospital as of Thursday night.

    Two passengers are in stable condition, and the conditions of the two remaining people on board are unknown, according to NBC affiliate HNN in Hawaii.

    The navy says the helicopter is owned by Genesis Aviation offering aerial tours of the Arizona Memorial since 1999.

    The NTSB is investigating the crash.

    Burner says his trip to Pearl Harbor Thursday inspired him to help the family.

    “I guess in some ironic way became a hero myself today. Not that it even compares to what these military personnel have done for us.” Burner said. “But it definitely was rewarding to give back a little bit today and help a couple people."



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    Scott BurnerScott Burner

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    President Barack Obama on Saturday defended his visit to Cuba next month amid rebuke from conservative circles, saying that it would further advance his efforts to restore diplomatic relations after more than a half-century of Cold War-era conflict between the countries, NBC News reported.

    "I'm focused on the future, and I'm confident that my visit will advance the goals that guide us —promoting American interests and values and a better future for the Cuban people, a future of more freedom and more opportunity," the president said in his weekly address.

    The president vowed to "speak candidly about our serious differences with the Cuban government, including on democracy and human rights."



    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    In this Sept. 29, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama stands with Cuba's President Raul Castro before a bilateral meeting at the United Nations headquarters. The president is now staring down 11 months before his successor is chosen in an election shaping up to be a referendum on his leadership at home and abroad. He stirs deep anger among many Republicans, a constant reminder of his failure to make good on campaign promises to heal Washington’s divisiveness. But he remains popular among Democrats and foresees a role campaigning for his party’s nominee in the general election.In this Sept. 29, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama stands with Cuba's President Raul Castro before a bilateral meeting at the United Nations headquarters. The president is now staring down 11 months before his successor is chosen in an election shaping up to be a referendum on his leadership at home and abroad. He stirs deep anger among many Republicans, a constant reminder of his failure to make good on campaign promises to heal Washington’s divisiveness. But he remains popular among Democrats and foresees a role campaigning for his party’s nominee in the general election.

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    A shoplifting complaint helped lead police towards a heroin and cocaine arrest. 

    Police responded to a shoplifting complaint at the Big Y Market on Wauregan Road in Killingly on Friday. 

    Jillian Burns, 25, of Woodstock,  was arrested when police arrived to the food market. In addition to stolen merchandise, police found several pills, drug paraphernalia, multiple bags of heroin and a bag of powder cocaine, Killingly Police said. 

    Burns is accused of two counts of narcotic possession, criminal trespass, 6th degree larceny, illegal storage of narcotics, drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance. 

     She is scheduled to be in court on Mar. 4 and was held on a $2,500 bond. 



    Photo Credit: Killingly Police Department

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    Spanish rugby players helped a local resort in Fiji fight off a massive cyclone's devastating ocean swells on Saturday, NBC News reported.

    The Spanish men's rugby sevens team was staying at the Uprising Resort when Tropical Cyclone Winston, packing winds of 186 miles per hour, made landfall, knocking out power and communications throughout the Pacific island nation.

    "They dropped everything, got out there and put their boots down and helped with the sandbagging," the resort's General Manager, James Pridgeon, told NBC News. "Just constantly keeping the sandbags back up, they didn't put their safety first, they kept us safe instead."



    Photo Credit: Uprising Fiji

    Spain's Ruby Sevens team assisting a local resort in Fiji with storm preparations.Spain's Ruby Sevens team assisting a local resort in Fiji with storm preparations.

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    Two women were transported to the hospital after their car rolled over on Route 72 in Plainville Saturday afternoon.

    Connecticut State Police say Carmen Jimenez, 47, of New Britain was driving a 2005 Jeep Cherokee eastbound on Route 72 just before the I-84 interchange around 3:37 p.m. The vehicle swerved toward the left and ran over the rumble strip next to the left shoulder. Jimenez then lost control of the Jeep.

    Police say the vehicle then overturned onto its left side and rolled over four times. Jimenez was transported by ambulance to Hartford Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Her passenger Consuelo Sanabria, 70, of Wolcott was transported by LifeStar helicopter to Hartford Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

    Route 72 eastbound was closed between exit 4 and exit 7 while LifeStar landed and police investigated the crash. It has since reopened.

    Jimenez was given a verbal warning for failure to maintain the established lane. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
     



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A North Texas mother says she is angry that little is being done after her 8-year-old son was allegedly sexually assaulted on a school bus by two other 8-year-old boys.

    She said her son — a first-grader at Northbrook Elementary in northwest Fort Worth, part of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District — was riding the bus to school Thursday morning when two other boys pulled down his pants, performed a sexual act and beat him up.

    "This is a scrape mark from when he was punched and kicked in the stomach," she said, pointing to two red marks on the boy's stomach. "They said, 'Tell anybody, and I'll hurt you again, and you'll be in trouble, too.'"

    The mother said her son has complained recently about getting bullied, but she had no idea it would develop into something more serious.

    "This escalated from a bullying to a full-blown sexual assault," she said.

    Fort Worth police spokesman Sgt. Steve Enright confirmed an investigation was underway but added if the other two boys are just 8 years old, there's little that police can do.

    Legally, no criminal charges can be filed against any child under the age of 10.

    "Where is the magic line? That is the question," the boy's mother said. "And what is the degree of crime that they can commit before they say, 'You know what? Maybe you do need some sort of court intervention.'"

    The Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District issued a statement, saying, "As soon as school and district personnel were made aware of the report, we responded immediately and have put every measure into place that we legally can to protect and support those involved in this matter."

    An adult monitor has been assigned to the bus, according to district spokeswoman Megan Overman.
    She would not comment on any action taken against the two boys.

    The alleged victim's mother said she wants the two expelled.

    "My son is now going to have to go to a school where his attackers are going to be, and that's not fair with him being the victim," she said.

    Child Protective Services is also investigating.

    NBC 5 typically does not identify alleged sexual assault victims.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF

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