Auburn student's post, selfies with rape suspect go viral
AUBURN, AL - As shocking new details emerged this week in the rape of an Auburn University student on a bus, many immediately recognized one of the suspects named in the case. He'd been their bus driver on multiple occasions. One student discussed her encounters with him in a post that's getting a lot of attention. Auburn University sophomore Carlee Colemanregularly uses buses to get to and from campus, including Tiger Ten, the late-night transportation service for students. She snapped selfies with one of her regular bus drivers, Tony Patillo, 51, who she got to know through her travels. This week she saw Patillo's face in a mugshot, when he was charged in the rape of an 18-year-old student that happened late last Friday night inside one of the moving buses. “As a personal survivor of sexual assault rape, my reaction first was disbelief and then fear as I had personally known Mr. Patillo,” Coleman said. On Sept. 15 at approximately 11:50 p.m., Auburn police received a report of a man exposing himself while standing over a woman in the 700 block of Aspen Heights Lane. “The caller advised that they observed a male subject standing over a female subject who was laying on the ground, and he apparently had his pants down,” said Assistant Chief William Mathews. The caller gave police a description of the suspect. Officers located the suspect, identified as Patillo, near the roadway and detained him. Further investigation determined that the victim, who appeared to be incapacitated, got on a bus on Magnolia Avenue. She found herself alone on the bus with Patillo and the driver, James Don Johnson, 32, of Auburn.
Both men were employees of First Transit, the contractor hired by Auburn University to provide late-night transportation service for students. “While on the bus, she was sexually assaulted by Patillo, an employee of First Transit. The investigation further determined that Johnson, who was driving the bus, engaged in actions to perpetuate the crime while Patillo was in the rear of the bus assaulting the victim,” Mathews stated. Patillo later exited the bus near Aspen Heights Lane with the female victim, and it was at that point he was observed by passersby standing over her. Johnson continued on, steering the bus along its route. “He was complicit in the event. He allowed the event to take place,” Mathews said of Johnson. Investigators were eventually able to identify, contact, and interview the victim. Patillo and Johnson were both charged with rape and sodomy.