2 bus drivers fired after accused of rape, sodomy of Auburn Univ - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

2 bus drivers fired after accused of rape, sodomy of Auburn University student

(Source: Auburn Police Department) (Source: Auburn Police Department)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM) (Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM) (Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM) (Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) – The two bus drivers Auburn police arrested on sexual assault and sodomy charges of an Auburn University student, have now been fired from their jobs.

Tony Martin Patillo, 51, from Columbus, Georgia was initially taken into custody on Saturday, Sept. 16 and charged with several counts of public lewdness. Later that same day he was also charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy.

James Johnson Jr., 32, from Auburn, Alabama was charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy on Sept. 16, 2017, related to the same incident.

On Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, around 11:50 pm, the Auburn Police Division received a report of a male exposing himself while standing over a female in the 700 block of Aspen Heights Lane in Auburn.

Officers located Patillo near the roadway and arrested him. Police were unable to locate the female at the time of the initial report.

Patillo was arrested on four counts of public lewdness and was taken to the Lee County Jail.

Further investigation revealed that a female, who appeared to be incapacitated, entered a bus operated by First Transit, contracted by Tiger Transit, near Magnolia Avenue in Auburn.

While on the bus, she was sexually assaulted by Patillo, an employee of First Transit.

The investigation further determined that Johnson, who was driving the bus, engaged in actions to continue the crime while Patillo was in the rear of the bus assaulting the victim.

Patillo later left the bus near Aspen Heights Lane with the female victim and he was observed by a passerby standing over her. 

Investigators were eventually able to identify, contact, and interview the victim, an 18-year-old female. 

Students at Auburn University expressing shock and outrage over the alleged assault.

"I'm just so surprised by it. The accused person, I have been riding on his bus for two years. We always had nice conversation, I'm shocked," said Auburn University student, Joseph Gillis

"It's very scared to think about. Any of my friends could have been on that bus, anyone could've been in that position," said student Emma Graham.

Warrants for the arrest of Patillo and Johnson for the offenses of rape in the first degree and sodomy in the first degree were obtained and executed on Patillo at the Lee County Jail.

Patillo is eligible a $127,000 bond. Johnson was arrested at his residence and transported to the Lee County Jail and is eligible for a $125,000 bond.

The suspects were employees of First Transit, the contractor hired by Auburn, to provide the late-night transportation service. The contractor is required to conduct thorough background checks on its employees and has terminated the employment of both suspects.

Auburn University released the following statement regarding the incident: 

"Our top concern is the well-being of the victim, and we cannot stress in strong enough terms our shock and distress over this despicable act. We immediately provided support and all available resources to the victim and continue to do so.

The suspects were employees of First Transit, the contractor hired by Auburn to provide late-night transportation service for students. The contractor is required to conduct thorough background checks on its employees and has terminated the employment of both suspects. We are evaluating the future of the university’s relationship with First Transit."

[RELATED: 911 caller called a hero after Auburn University students raped on moving bus]

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