The mother of a young girl seen in a disturbing video taken on TheBus is seeking answers.
The video, which has gone viral, was taken Monday morning on Route 19 by a passenger sitting across from the young girl who was being touched by a man.
Someone eventually intervened and told the man next to the child to stop it.
The mother wanted her identity concealed to protect her daughter.
Her child was on the way to school when the incident happened.
“She’s shaken up, as any 13-year-old would be,” she said. “When I saw the video, I was livid. That was my first reaction. Second reaction, I want to make sure my daughter was okay. Third, I was happy the person was there to capture that moment to see who that person was.”
Her next reaction, she says, is to find the person. She filed a police report.
“Why hasn’t he been charged yet?” she asked. “We know who this person is. We know where he lives. Why hasn’t he been charged? Why is this investigated as a harassment case? Clearly you can see in the video, it was sexual. The police should be doing more to get him off the streets and charge him with something more than harassment.”
KHON2 asked for the status on the investigation by Wednesday afternoon, but the department did not respond.
The mother says her daughter never wants to ride TheBus again.
She has more questions for TheBus: “Are you being cautious of who you’re allowing on the buses? That’s my main question, and also, what are you going to be doing in the future moving forward to protect people here on out?”
When asked if TheBus would consider banning certain passengers, Roger Morton, president of Oahu Transit Services, replied: “TheBus does not have authority at this point to ban people. We have had incidents in the past where we had to try to get court orders to ban some people from the bus. We’ve been unsuccessful.”
Morton says it’s something he’d like to see in the future.
“Other cities do have the authority through local bylaws and ordinances. I think it’s a good thing,” Morton explained. “I think we all as a community should look at whether the time has come. We have rail coming, so we need to have these things done in advance. Now is a good time with this incident and with other incidents that everybody take a look at those.”
Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi suggested periodically placing undercover police officers on TheBus to deter criminals.
“We have a rule now that police are allowed to ride free, but I think putting undercover officers on the bus, on a random bus, is not feasible. What we have done in the past, which we’d continue to do in the future, is if there is a known pattern, say a pattern of someone saying, ‘I think someone is stalking me,’ we have put private investigators to have an investigation to go back to when someone is riding,” said Morton.
Morton adds all new drivers undergo a comprehensive training program to handle situations involving incidents on TheBus. Surveillance cameras are also installed on all buses that are routinely shared with law enforcement.
In this latest incident, Morton says the bus driver was made aware of the incident from the person filming the incident. He says the 13-year-old girl declined to file a report at the time, so the bus driver did not file a report.
“We certainly have an open investigation with our operator — all incidents of this nature, period,” Morton said. “If the driver is aware of a possible crime, the driver’s rule is to report it immediately. In this case, that did not occur. It’s rare for that to occur, first time I can recall that occurred.
“Do things happen on city transit buses? Of course. They happen everywhere in our community. Transit buses aren’t immune,” he continued. “Going forward, we’re going to do more training. We want to make sure the public feels safe on city buses.”