SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Parents were outraged Friday that they weren’t told about an alleged kidnapping and attempted sexual assault near a Santa Ana school last week.
The incident happened around 6:10 a.m. Jan. 24 while a 13-year-old girl was walking to McFadden Intermediate School in the 2700 block of West Segerstrom Avenue.
A man pulled up in a four-door blue sedan and asked if the teen wanted a ride, according to Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department.
Bertagna said when the victim refused to get in the car, the suspect forced her inside.
Authorities said the man then asked the girl to commit lewd acts.
The suspect eventually dropped the girl off in the school’s parking lot without molesting her.
Parents and students were shocked when KCAL9’s Michele Gile—and not school administrators or the police—told them about the reported crime.
“What are they waiting for? For somebody to get kidnapped and killed? That’s what they’re waiting for?” said parent Norma Garcia.
Student Brooklyn Mendoza said, “I think it’s pretty dumb that if they knew about it, that they wouldn’t tell the students. What if something happened to someone else? They could have stopped it. If it kept going on, it’d be their fault.”
Deidra Powell, a spokeswoman for the Santa Ana Unified School District, said school officials were aware of the situation.
Police, however, told them the information was preliminary.
“When something is preliminary, we didn’t want to be premature and send out information. If it had not been accurate, we would have had to recant that. To make sure the information was accurate, we waited to hear from the police department,” said Powell.
Authorities told Gile that they didn’t release information to the public until Friday because the case needed to be investigated.
Officials described the suspected sexual predator as Latino, about 35 to 45 years old, with a heavy build and a black receding hairline.
The man, who spoke English and Spanish, was wearing silver-rimmed glasses, a gray hooded sweatshirt and beige shorts.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Santa Ana Police Department.