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Second sexual assault allegation targets GBHS swim team
Great Bend school district changes bus policies
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 SALINA – A report has been filed by a parent of a Great Bend High School boys swim team member in Saline county alleging his son was sexually assaulted on a GBHS school bus Feb. 3. This comes as the Ellsworth County Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving members of the team on the bus coming home from Manhattan on Feb. 6.

Saline County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Roger Soldan said the father came into the office in Salina Saturday. He reported that his 15-year-old son was assaulted on that Wednesday just as the bus had finished a swim meet at Salina South High School and leaving town. “There has just been a report made at this time,” Soldan said, adding the investigation is in the very early stages. Next, officers will visit Great Bend to conduct interviews.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Unified School District Superintendent Brad Reed said the district was contacted by media concerning a report made in Saline County. “The district is undertaking to investigate the matter and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement.”

Once the investigation is completed and the facts determined, the district will take appropriate action, Reed said. “The district takes this and all claims of harassment or other wrongdoing seriously and continues to be concerned about the safety, well being and fair treatment of all its students.” 

Reed said the district did on Feb. 8 revise its practices regarding adult monitoring and supervision on bus trips to reduce the likelihood of any inappropriate behavior.   

The latest incident came to light as authorities in Ellsworth County are expecting to present a case to Ellsworth County Attorney Joe Shepack by the middle of this week, Ellsworth County Sheriff Tracy Ploutz said. “I believe I will be submitting a case to the county attorney to have charges filed,” Ploutz said. 

Just what those charges are and against whom has yet to be determined.

It was the Ellsworth County incident that angered swim team parents, GBHS students and many in the community. It sparked a news conference afternoon followed by a student protest, both at the Unified School District 428 office.

During that conference, Reed said the information provided to school officials by the persons present and involved did not indicate serious criminal activity occurred, but the district has cooperated with law enforcement in investigating the possibility of criminal conduct.