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3 charged in alleged Kanawha school bus sex assaults

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police arrested a man and two teenagers in connection to two allegations of sexual abuse aboard a Kanawha County high school bus late last month.

Kanawha County Sheriff Cpl. P.J. Lively was called to Elkview Middle School to investigate two accounts of sexual abuse reportedly committed on a bus carrying students from the middle school and Herbert Hoover High School on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29, according to a news release.

Lively determined that Matthew Cavalier, 18, of Quick, and a 16-year-old male allegedly fondled a 13-year-old girl during a trip home on the bus, according to the release.

Lively also found that a 12-year-old male allegedly had exposed himself in an attempt to force sexual contact with another 12-year-old male on at least three occasions on the bus.

Cavalier was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and is being held in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bail. The 16-year-old suspect also was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and is being held at the Tiger Morton Juvenile Detention Center.

The 12-year-old suspect was charged with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and is also being held in Tiger Morton Juvenile Detention Center in Dunbar.

Pete Thaw, Kanawha County school board president, said he's glad that those who are reportedly responsible have been arrested.

"I just want to assure parents that we do all we can to make sure things like this do not occur," Thaw said.

He said it's not possible to separate middle school and high school students who must ride the bus together.

"We obviously . . . have to overlap the schools," Thaw said, "because each school can't have its own bus."

He reminded parents to talk to their children about sexual-assault awareness. If a student is a victim of or witness to an assault, he said, they should feel comfortable telling an adult.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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