Investigation underway after video appears to show man touching young girl on TheBus

A disturbing video of an incident on TheBus is once again raising safety concerns.

A bus rider shared video of a man sitting next to a young girl on Route 19 Monday morning. In it, he appears to graze his hand against the girl’s thigh.

The passenger was sitting across from them and grew concerned, so she started recording the man.

“Your heart is pounding. There’s people around you not doing anything. You need to speak up for this child. Obviously, this child didn’t say anything. If you look at the video, she couldn’t move,” said the passenger’s friend, who only wanted to be known as Maria.

Finally, someone told the man to stop it, and he got off the bus at Ward.

Police opened a harassment investigation. No one has been arrested.

In a separate case in August, a woman filed a police report saying a man exposed himself while on TheBus.

“It really disturbs me,” said bus rider Dora Focht. “I have grandchildren. I think when it goes viral, the state or somebody has to do something about it. There are problems and it keeps recurring.”

Oahu Transit Services, which operates the bus, says it’s aware of the video and looking into the incident. It released the following statement:

“The safety and security of our passengers is always our first and foremost concern.  When an incident occurs on board the bus, we ask that the rider inform the bus operator as soon as possible, so the operator can call for emergency assistance.

If the rider is not able to get to the bus operator, they can call 911 or text to 911 if the perpetrator is in hearing distance. They will need to provide the bus number, bus route, and location, along with a description of the activity.

We want remind all of our riders that if you See Something, Say Something.”

Surveillance cameras are also on every bus.

Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi says more should be done.

“We have to do something, whatever it takes to stop this. TheBus company, OTS, has to make certain moves to make sure this doesn’t keep happening,” Kobayashi said. “It just makes me sick. A lot of children and students, well even anyone that rides TheBus, should not be subjected to that kind of treatment. I’m glad we have cameras on TheBus, but maybe we need undercover people, once in a while, to go on the bus to actually stop this.”

“How feasible is that?” KHON2 asked.

“Well, it’s not, but we’re going to have to do something,” Kobayashi replied.

In an emailed response, a spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department said, “HPD works closely with the city and bus officials to ensure passenger safety and investigate criminal cases. Any plans to put undercover officers on public vehicles would be coordinated with the DTS and TheBus officials.”

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