Man accused of forcibly touching teen on charter bus, police say

CHARLOTTE — A man has been arrested after being accused of forcibly touching a teenager on a bus Tuesday morning.

The 19-year-old told the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department that Dhrupal Kumar Patel inappropriately touched her on a charter bus around 1 a.m.

While it is unclear exactly where the assault occurred, police said they spoke with the victim in the parking lot across from First Ward Park.

Parent Melissa Southerland told Channel 9′s Erika Jackson that she is concerned because her children take the bus to work.

“I really don’t like that they take the bus, but at this time we only have one vehicle, so at this time they only have the bus to take back and forth home,” Southerland said.

She said she would remind her children to sit somewhere they felt safe.

“You never know who gets on the bus. I always tell them to sit in the front,” Southerland explained.

A spokesperson for the Charlotte Area Transit System said this incident did not occur on one of their buses.

Police said Patel was charged with sexual battery.

The victim said she did not know Patel prior to this encounter.

An employee at the Mecklenburg County jail told Channel 9 that he was released a few hours after his arrest.

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