Update: Auburn University Statement
"Two arrests have been made resulting from a sexual assault that occurred early Saturday morning.
Auburn University is working with the City of Auburn Police Division in their investigation. Our top concern is the well-being of the victim, and we cannot stress in strong enough terms our shock and distress over this despicable act. We immediately provided support and all available resources to the victim and continue to do so.
The suspects were employees of First Transit, the contractor hired by Auburn to provide late night transportation service for students. The contractor is required to conduct thorough background checks on its employees and has terminated the employment of both suspects. We are evaluating the future of the University’s relationship with First Transit. As this is the subject of an ongoing investigation, further questions should be directed to the Auburn Police Division."
Press Release Source: Auburn Police Division
The Auburn Police Division has arrested two adult males on charges related to a sexual assault that occurred Friday, September 15, 2017. Tony Martin Patillo, age 51, from Columbus, Georgia was initially taken into custody on Saturday, September 16 and charged with several counts of Public Lewdness; later that same day he was also charged with First Degree Rape and First Degree Sodomy. James Don Johnson, age 32, from Auburn, Alabama was charged with First Degree Rape and First Degree Sodomy on September 16, 2017, related to the same incident.
On Friday, September 15, 2017, at approximately 11:50 pm, the Auburn Police Division received a report of a male exposing himself while standing over a female in the 700 block of Aspen Heights Lane in Auburn. Responding officers located Patillo near the roadway and detained him. Officers were unable to locate the female at the time of the initial report. Patillo was arrested on four counts of Public Lewdness and was transported to the Lee County Jail. Further investigation determined that a female, who appeared to be incapacitated, entered a bus operated by First Transit near Magnolia Avenue in Auburn. 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. Patillo later exited the bus near Aspen Heights Lane with the female victim; it was at that point he was observed by passersby standing over her.
Investigators were eventually able to identify, contact and interview the victim, an 18 year old female. Warrants for the arrest of Patillo and Johnson for the offenses of Rape
1st degree and Sodomy 1st degree were obtained and executed on Patillo at the Lee County Jail. Patillo is eligible a $127,000.00 bond. Johnson was arrested at his residence and transported to the Lee County Jail and is eligible for a $125,000.00 bond.
The crime is still under investigation, and anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 334-501-3140 or the 24 hour non-emergency number 334-501-3100. Callers may also provide information anonymously on the tip line 334-246-1391.