Man’s lewd actions toward girl prompt officials to alert Overland Park community

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Police and school officials are alerting parents after a man reportedly made lewd comments and actions toward a girl walking home from the gym last week.

Overland Park police said on May 4, a girl was walking home in the area of Lamar Avenue and West 143rd Street. The girl was walking south on Lamar Avenue, approaching West 143rd Street when a white man in his 30s, driving a black newer-model SUV, asked her where the nearest dog park was.

The girl gave the man directions. The man then turned westbound onto West 143rd, and the girl crossed West 143rd at Lamar.

The teen told FOX4 she encountered the same man four times in total in her walk home.

When the man again approached her near West 144th and Horton streets, he allegedly made sexual remarks to the girl. When she looked inside of his vehicle, the man allegedly exposed his genitals.

That's when she yelled and the man drove off. The suspect left the area, heading eastbound on West 144th Street toward Dearborn Street, police said.

The girl said the man had dark hair, partially slicked back, and stubble. He was wearing sunglasses, a black dress shirt with light-colored stripes.

Police are asking anyone with information to call the department at 913-865-6300 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.

Several schools in the Blue Valley School District sent a message to parents Wednesday, alerting them of the incident. A district spokesperson would not confirm if the student involved attends a Blue Valley school but said the neighborhood where the incident happened feeds into Blue Valley West High School.

In addition to sharing Overland Park police's statement, the district shared the message sent to parents with FOX4, which reads in part:

"We are fortunate in Blue Valley to have great partnerships with you, our families, and a strong collaborative relationship with local authorities. Throughout the school year, staff members visit with students about the importance of being safe, being aware of surroundings and being able to protect themselves. We encourage families to have these same age-appropriate conversations with your children at home.

"We will remain diligent in our efforts to provide a safe learning environment for students and to teach our students about safety, awareness and trusting their instincts. Thank you for partnering with us to help keep all students safe."

FOX4 talked to several parents who didn't even realize the obscene act had occurred in their neighborhood.

"I have a kid who walks home from school and younger children who play outside regularly, so it’s concerning," said Jeanne Polhemus, who lives in the neighborhood.

Diane Tucker, who lives in the area and has two adult daughters, said she's happy the girl followed her instincts and informed an adult.

"I am really glad that girls are being taught more to be aware of their surroundings and to always take care of themselves," she said.

"When your hair stands up on the back of your neck, you need to be paying attention because you could be in danger," said Michael Horrell, who also lives in the neighborhood.