A man has been taken into custody and charged with two felony counts following alleged sexual abuse that occurred on a bus traveling through Ames.
According to a criminal complaint, the incident took place on May 23 between 12:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. on a bus ride that was scheduled to end up in Minnesota. Prior to the alleged assault, the 14-year-old female victim, her mother, and 30-year-old Hadjii Elijah Covington “were on a northbound bus together, but not traveling with each other”, states the complaint.
The report adds that the sexual assault began shortly after the three individuals boarded a different bus at the Ames Intermodal Facility, located at 129 Hayward Avenue.
Covington, a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is accused of engaging in multiple sex acts with the female minor shortly after the bus left the Ames facility. Due to the nature of the allegations, StoryCounty.News is not releasing additional details regarding the alleged sexual abuse.
Ames Police Sergeant Amber Christian told StoryCounty.News that the victim reported the series of events to her mother and to Clear Lake Police, which handled the initial criminal investigation.
Covington is said to have known that the victim was 14 years old. He later told investigators that his intent was to engage in sexual activity with the minor, according to a second criminal complaint.
Christian told StoryCounty.News that video from the bus camera system was obtained and shows evidence of one of the sex acts. She added that DNA specimens matching Covington were also found on the victim following a sexual assault exam at a medical facility.
Covington was arrested by the Cerro Gordo County Sherriff’s Office and charged with Telephone Dissemination of Obscene Material To Minor – First Offense, an aggravated misdemeanor. That charge was later dismissed by a judge, according to court documents.
On May 31, just over one week after his arrest, Covington was charged with Possession of Contraband in Correctional Institution, a class “D” felony. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drug, a serious misdemeanor.
On November 3, following further investigation by Ames PD into the sexual assault allegations, an arrest warrant was issued for Covington on the following charges:
- Third-Degree Sexual Abuse – Child Victim (First Offense), a class “C” felony
- Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Abuse, an aggravated misdemeanor
According to jail records, Covington was transported to the Story County Jail earlier this week. He is being held on a $100,000 bond. Court documents indicate that Covington is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on February 6 at 1:00 p.m.
If you feel you have been a victim of sexual assault, you are encouraged to call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit www.rainn.org/resources for online chat help. You may also contact Ames PD at 515-239-5133, ISU PD at 515-294-4428, or the Story County Sheriff’s Office at 515-382-6566.