- December 4, 2013
A female was the victim of a sexual battery the evening of Friday, Oct. 13, just outside Riverview High School, according to a release from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
The woman was in her parked car on the 2700 block of Parma Street around 8 p.m. when a man entered her vehicle and sexually battered her, she told police.
Deputies are looking for the suspect. Based on the victim’s description, he is believed to be a white male between 30-40 years old, with a medium build, long brown hair, a mustache and goatee, and a mole on his face. He was wearing a gray shirt at the time of the incident. Anyone who has information related to this case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 841-861-4900.
As of Thursday morning, police say this appears to be a random incident as detectives have not received any reports of similar incidents in or around the area.
Because it is an open and active investigation, a sheriff’s department spokeswoman was unable to confirm if the victim was a student in Sarasota County Schools.
The school district notified families of all its high school students about the assault Wednesday, five days after it reportedly occurred. Because of the nature of the ongoing investigation, a district spokesman said school officials were working with law enforcement to get the information about the incident out to the community.
“We really take our lead from law enforcement on things like this,” said Sarasota County Schools Communications Manager Scott Ferguson.
The notification message informed parents of a “sexual battery incident Friday night near Riverview High School,” and asked that they share safety messages with their children: Report suspicious activity to adults; park on campus in well-lit areas when attending games or after-hours events; and walk to and from the car with other people when possible.
“The safety of our students is our highest priority,” the message told parents.
Danielle Whitley, whose son recently graduated from Riverview and whose daughter is an athlete at the school, said hearing the news was “very scary.”
“Between this news and the gun threat, it just seems to be a scary time right now,” she said. “This is a safe community compared to other areas, but it’s still alarming and concerning.”
On Thursday, Riverview High School, along with six other schools, was on lockdown after a student allegedly displayed a firearm and several bullets on a bus to Riverview, then left campus when the bus arrived, according to a Sheriff’s spokeswoman. Deputies were searching for the student as of Thursday morning, which prompted the lockdown “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the district. The student has since been located, and the lockdown was lifted.