Young Albany girl encounters stranger outside Giffen E.S.

Posted at: 10/25/2013 4:38 PM
Updated at: 10/25/2013 11:34 PM
By: Dan Levy

Man approaches group of children outside Giffen Elementary
Man approaches group of children outside Giffen Elementary
Photo: WNYT

ALBANY - A young student outside Giffen Elementary School may have avoided harm Friday morning by knowing exactly what to do when approached by a stranger.

Even though the girl says she was inappropriately touched by the man, Albany Police say, as of Friday night, they don't have enough evidence to arrest anyone.

It was ten minutes before eight, Friday morning, outside Giffen Elementary School in downtown Albany, that’s when police responded to a report of an unknown male approaching a group of children.

Sonia Graham says her god-sister Marilyn’s young daughter was inappropriately touched by the stranger.

“Marilyn teaches Mia to look for everything. If someone touches you, you open your mouth and say something. Marilyn was talking and the guy stood up behind her and touched her arm and Mia was like what? She’s a good child, she gets good grades. She says ‘don’t touch me!’ And that’s when come to find out he’s been doing that, he’s done that to other kids. He just touched the wrong child this time," says Graham.

Meanwhile, Victoria Butler, a school crossing guard outside Giffen, says she didn’t witness Friday morning’s incident but says she has seen the man before who she later learned was taken in by police for questioning.

“He was out here about 2 or 3 weeks ago putting mini-balloons together on the corner, waiting for the bus. Kids were getting out of school so they see the balloons and are like ‘I want a balloon’ and he was handing them out to people” says Butler.

At the end of the school day school officials sent home a letter to parents reminding them to talk to their children about strangers.

There was a checklist on that letter and among the items on that checklist; obviously never walk alone, do not talk to strangers, come to school on time and when you’re walking to and from school walk against traffic so no one can follow you.

And of course perhaps most important, if you see something or are the victim of something, tell an adult right away.  Police are continuing to investigate the incident.