The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office on Friday booked a 13-year-old boy on two counts of simple battery in a May 13 incident on an Estelle Elementary School bus.
JPSO spokesman Col. John Fortunato said the arrest stemmed from allegations made by a 9-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy that the teen grabbed them on the bus.
Fortunato said the Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate claims made by two other children — both girls — that the same 13-year-old boy touched them inappropriately on the bus eight days earlier.
A woman who said she is the grandmother of one of those girls has previously said the 5-year-old was forced to perform oral sex on a seventh-grade boy. The Marrero school teaches students from pre-K to seventh grade.
On Friday, the grandmother of the 5-year-old girl said she was happy officials were pursuing justice but that she hopes they provide the boy with professional therapy.
“Jail is not going to help that child. He’s still a child,” the woman said. “They need to give him some counseling because maybe something happened to him that nobody knows about.”
The New Orleans Advocate is not naming the grandmother to protect the identity of the 5-year-old girl.
The Sheriff’s Office booked the 13-year-old boy into the Rivarde Juvenile Assessment Center, Fortunato said.
Jefferson Parish Public School System spokeswoman Beth Branley said she can’t comment on what type of academic discipline may have been imposed on the boy, citing federal educational privacy laws.
The school system’s policy book says a student may be expelled “if an offense committed by the pupil is serious enough to warrant such action or is in violation of state law.”
Branley said, “We took immediate disciplinary action in accordance with ... Jefferson Parish School Board (policy). And we continue to cooperate with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.”
Advocate staff writer Matt Sledge contributed to this report.