Two Auburn University Bus Drivers Charged with Rape, Sodomy of Student

The two former Auburn University bus drivers were charged after police received a call about a man standing over a woman with his pants down on a bus.

Two Auburn University Bus Drivers Charged with Rape, Sodomy of Student

Tiger Transit is a school shuttle system for students both on- and off-campus.

Two Auburn University bus drivers have been charged in the sexual assault of a student on a bus during Homecoming weekend.

James Don Johnson, 32, and Tony Martin Patillo, 51, were both charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy of an 18-year-old “incapacitated” student on a Tiger Transit shuttle, reports the New York Post.

Police say Johnson was driving the bus as Patillo sexually assaulted the female student while the bus was off-campus.

Patillo was originally charged with four counts of public lewdness after police received a call about a man exposing himself while standing over a woman on a bus.

“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,” says Assistant Chief William Mathews. “While on the bus, she was sexually assaulted by Patillo. 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.”

Patillo was apprehended by police on the side of the road but they were unable to locate the victim at the time, according to the Yellow Hammer. Patillo was taken to Lee County Jail and is being held on a $127,000 bond. Johnson was later apprehended at his home and is being held on a $125,000 bond.

Patillo and Johnson were employed by First Transit, a contractor hired by the university to drive the Tiger Transit shuttles. Both drivers have been fired by the company.

According to its website, First Transit employees must pass background checks and drug screenings. A statement from the company says they are conducting their own internal review and are working closely with the Auburn Police and Auburn University.

Tiger Transit shuttles are equipped with video surveillance which is being reviewed by police in the ongoing investigation, says

As for Auburn officials, they are “evaluating the future of the university’s relationship with First Transit.”

An email outlining the incident was sent to students and faculty. The email also contained tips on what to do if one is sexually assaulted, such as not changing clothes or showering, calling police, and going to the campus medical center for a rape kit test.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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