Former Auburn Tiger Transit employees charged with rape appear in court

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) – Two former Auburn Tiger Transit bus drivers accused of raping an Auburn University student appeared in court Wednesday.

Tony Martin Patillo, 51, from Columbus is charged with several counts of public lewdness, first-degree rape, and first-degree sodomy.

James Johnson Jr., 32, from Auburn was charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy.

The incident happened on Sept. 15 when police received a report of a man 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.

An 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 at the time 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.


We are learning Wednesday that the alleged rape was caught on bus cameras and there are also witnesses that saw Tony Patillo on top of the victim on an Auburn street.

Auburn police officer Sgt. Michael Creighton testifies  Patillo made an initial statement that he did not take his clothes off that night – later admitting to being on top of the victim but not having sex with her.

Judge Speakman is ordering that Patillo be tested for sexually transmitted diseases before the trial happens.

Police say the video on the bus shows the victim was intoxicated at the time of the alleged rape and once officers contacted the victim the next day she had no idea what happened.

The defense is arguing that Tony Patillo was in charge of James Johnson Jr., therefore Johnson Jr was following his commands when Patillo tells Johnson to do certain things during the alleged incident.

Judge finds probable cause for James Johnson's, Jr. first degree rape and sodomy charge.

Judge finds probable cause for Tony Patillo's first-degree rape, sodomy and four counts public lewdness.

The case is bound over to circuit court. Johnson Jr. is out of jail wearing an ankle monitor and Patillo remains in the Lee County Jail.

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