ELLSWORTH – Ellsworth County Sheriff Tracy Ploutz said Tuesday he believes there was some form of criminal activity that occurred on a Great Bend High School bus Saturday, Feb. 6. It is alleged a GBHS boys swim team member was sexually battered by teammates on that bus as it was returning from Manhattan.
The alleged incident took place as the team was passing through Ellsworth County and it was there the bus pulled over and reports were taken. The call reporting what happened first went to Barton County but was transferred to Ellsworth County when the location was determined.
“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 ye to be determined.
He hasn’t turned the case over to County Attorney Joe Shepack yet and said he is still conducting interviews. He probably won’t be done until next week.
It was this incident that angered swim team parents, GBHS students and many in the community. It sparked a news conference Monday afternoon followed by a student protest, both at the Unified School District 428 office.
During that conference, USD 428 Superintendent Brad 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.
The district will continue this cooperation, he said. “And if their investigation provides new information, we will consider it and respond appropriately.”