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Article published Feb 13, 2008
Howell bus incident report released — with full text of report in downloadable PDF
Southwest principal says she ‘forgot’ to tell superintendent about CSC investigation
The much-anticipated report into an alleged sexual assault on a Howell Public Schools bus, obtained today by the Daily Press & Argus through the Freedom of Information Act, shows no findings of wrongdoing by Superintendent Chuck Breiner — but the report is murkier when it comes to other administrators in the district.

The Daily Press & Argus will be posting the report in its entirety today at livingstondaily.com.

The report, conducted by the Thrun Law Firm at the request of the Howell Public Schools Board of Education, concludes that Breiner didn’t know about the allegations of criminal sexual conduct until Sept. 17, 2007 — several months after the alleged assault took place in May.

However, Southwest Elementary School Principal Jill Hilla knew that the incident was being investigated as a CSC on May 31, 2007, when police officers informed her of the investigation.

What’s not clear in the report is whether Deputy Superintendent Lynn Parrish also knew about the allegations of CSC around that time. Hilla maintains that in May she told Parrish — her immediate supervisor — that the incident was being investigated by police as a CSC. Parrish said she has no record or recollection of that conversation.

Parrish did know that police officers were questioning students and principals about the bus incident, but Parrish said she didn’t know it was a CSC investigation until September. Parrish and Hilla didn’t tell Breiner anything about the investigation until September.

Breiner learned of the allegations on Sept. 17, 2007, from the parent of the student who allegedly witnessed the assault.

In a phone call to Breiner on Sept. 19, 2007, according to the report, Hilla apologized to Breiner for not telling him, saying she “forgot” about the CSC investigation.

Criminal proceedings in the case, meanwhile, are proceeding. A 10-year-old boy faces charges of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly forcing a 7-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him on a Howell school bus. The incident was allegedly witnessed by an 11-year-old boy.