UPPER MARLBORO, MD. A school bus aide accused of molesting special education, pre-kindergarten children on a Prince George’s County school bus has been indicted, according to the Prince George’s County state’s attorney.
Michael Patopie 38, of Capitol Heights inappropriately touched two students while they were on a school bus in November 2015 and in May 2016, police said. He was indicted on multiple counts of child abuse, assault and sex offenses.
Prosecutors said Patopie was on a bus last November carrying children home from James Ryder Randall Elementary in Clinton. They said he molested two special-needs students, a four-year-old and a five-year-old.
A former Prince George’s County school bus driver and former President of ACE-AFSCME Local 2250 Ms. Shirley Adams (shown below) discovered the illegalities and reported the crimes to her bosses who failed to act and instead covered the issues. Months later, she anonymously reported the incident to Child Protective Services (CPS).
CPS then alerted the parents of one of the victims, a 4-year-old boy with special needs. The victim’s parents were told bus cameras caught the abuse and they were shown enough video to identify their son, but they had not seen the alleged abuse.
The parents said they were told the same thing happened to another child on the bus. According to charging documents, the second victim is 5 years old and reported the alleged abuse to his mother.
The children involved have verbal delays and trouble communicating.
The bus was carrying students from James Ryder Randall Elementary School in Clinton, Maryland. An unrelated investigation found students in the school’s Head Start program were forced to hold objects over their heads for a long time as punishment in June. The events in question occurred last year when Dr. Shawn Joseph, Dr. Monique Felder, and Dr. Sito Narcisse all held positions of leadership in PGCPS. Let’s be clear here, they engaged in nefarious behavior after they covered up the crimes. Dr. Shawn Joseph was cleared of any wrong doing, though it is a little disconcerting that he oversaw the department in charge of the Head Start program, and one of the emails that led to the dismissal of the PGCPS Chief of Staff is addressed to him.
Prince George’s County Police confirmed they are investigating the incident, which was reported to CPS May 24 and to police June 20. The boy reported more information to police in August, according to sources. The boy’s father said the incident happened in November.
PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell said he didn’t find out until August, when school started.
Seven months ago, the community was horrified after learning a former teacher’s aide was reportedly sexually abusing students at another county school. The case is ongoing and investigations on other issues continues.
As we move unto the future, We need to further keep an eye on several developing issues connected to the events for two reasons. First, because as the investigation unfolds, it has been moving away from a single incident into being an indictment of the culture within PGCPS. If we are going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars creating a new culture within PGCPS, We must argue that it is financially prudent to make a close examination of the culture that we are importing to ensure that we are, in fact, morphing into a healthier culture and not a soggy soggy culture which has no direction for the future. It’s time to demand answers on these issues.