Posted: 2:41 p.m. Monday, March 31, 2014

Pleasant Hill student groped walking to school on popular trail

East Bay Mud Trail
East Bay Mud Trail

By Allie Rasmus


Mount Diablo School District leaders are warning parents to be on the lookout after a stranger grabbed a student inappropriately while she was walking to school Monday morning.

The incident happened on the East Bay Mud Trail between Astrid and West Hookston Drive, less than a mile away from two schools.

Officials say around 7:30 a.m. Monday a 17-year-old Prospect High student was walking to class when a man allegedly jumped out of the bushes, grabbed the student’s rear and took off running.

"Oftentimes opportunistic people will go where the adults are not," said Mt. Diablo Unified School District superintendent Nellie Meyer.

The student told school administrators and police came out to investigate Monday.  A phone call alert was also initiated and went out to the parents of Mt. Diablo Unified School District students who live in the area.

Pleasant Hill Middle School is also located next to the trail.

The phone alert described the suspect as a white male, 30 years old, 5'6 inches tall, with a skinny build and light colored hair. He was wearing hat, light colored jacket, jeans and black backpack at the time of the incident.

"As a parent, it's really scary," said Maria Gonzales, whose daughter attends Pleasant Hill Middle School. Gonzales says her daughter usually doesn't walk to school.

"With this, I’ll definitely drop her off and keep picking her up every day," she said.

Her daughter, 7th grader, Emily Mendoza was trying to make sense of it all after hearing about the incident Monday morning.

"When we heard it, I felt like, why does this always happen to people?" she said.

Superintendent Nellie Meyer says the student assaulted is doing fine, but that the incident is an opportunity for parents to have a frank talk with their kids.

"If a stranger approaches you be sure to get away as quick as you can, if a stranger touches you to tell an adult immediately," Meyer said.

Pleasant Hill police are investigating this as a case of sexual battery. They haven't heard about any other incidents along this trail but Sgt. John Vermillion said officers will now do extra patrols along the trail. Anyone who thinks they may have seen someone fitting the suspect's description Monday morning should contact police.


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