TALLMADGE — A Summit County grand jury has indicted a South Thomas Road man on nine felony charges in connection with allegations that he inappropriately touched elementary school girls while working as a school bus aide last year.
According to Summit County Court of Common Pleas records, Howard T. Franklin Jr., 31, is indicted with four counts of third-degree felony gross sexual imposition and five counts of fourth-degree felony attempted gross sexual imposition. The indictment was filed Thursday. Franklin is scheduled for arraignment Friday at 8 a.m.
Police said it is alleged that Franklin contacted five girls between the ages of 6 and 9 by touching them inappropriately on the outside of their clothing.
Superintendent Jeff Ferguson said Franklin was immediately removed from his position after allegations were made in September. He said Franklin was not a school district employee, but worked for Petermann Bus Co., which provides transportation services to the district.
Petermann spokesman Edward Flavin said the bus company notified the district and local authorities as soon as it received complaints about the alleged inappropriate behavior and fired Franklin on Sept. 27.
Flavin said the company has cooperated with the police investigation and provided videos of alleged incidents.
Police said Franklin was arrested Feb. 25 with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force. He is currently being held in Summit County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
His attorney, Mark Glinski, declined to comment, saying he expects to withdraw from the case during Franklin’s arraignment.
Editor’s note: Reporter Sean McDonnell contributed to this story.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.