4th grader charged with sexual offense after acting out assault with girl on school playground, officials say

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MARBURY, Md. -- A fourth-grader in Maryland is charged with sexually assaulting a girl on a school playground, WJLA reports.

He's charged with a fourth-degree sexual offense, second-degree assault and making a threat at school

The girl's father says the school completely mishandled the incident.

The incident allegedly happened at Gale Bailey Elementary School in rural Charles County three weeks ago when the fourth graders were out for recess on the playground.

Three boys reportedly began to make sexual threats against three girls and one of the boys pinned a girl on a piece of playground equipment and acted out a sexual assault.

The girls reporting were initially being told to just stay away from the boys.

The fathers of the two girls, whose identities aren't being revealed, attended a school board town hall to voice concerns.

"My daughter and the other two victims have seen nothing but apathy," the father said. "The little bit of time we tried to have them back in school they were bullied, harassed, called degrading names."

One of the boys has been charged, but after serving a suspension, the others are back in school.

The girls have not felt safe to return, parents say.

"We want to show victims they have every right to speak up and be treated as heroes, not as lepers," the father said.

For the boy who is charged, Charles County States Attorney Tony Covington says the focus will be on reform, not punishment

"We want to identify kids who are having trouble and obviously when the kid commits a delinquent act, by definition he's having trouble, and you try to treat and rehabilitate the child so that he doesn't do this again," Covington said.

The victim's father says that is not enough. He says he wants the principal and vice-principal fired.

He attended a school safety town hall last weekend.

The superintendent of schools promised staff members would be retrained and said: "I apologize to you for what happened to your daughter and any other child in this situation because it shouldn't happen."

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