Student accused of raping woman allowed to return to Monarch High School

Parents expected to voice concerns at town hall meeting Wednesday night

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor , Carlos Suarez - Anchor/Reporter

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. - Parents are expected to voice their concerns to school officials Wednesday night after a 19-year-old student was allowed to return to school after he was arrested on accusations that he raped a woman last year on Halloween.

"I think it's crap," one parent, Natalie Gray, said. "I have a daughter here and I won't even let her walk home anymore because I'm nervous. It's not fair that they are allowing him. What's the difference between any other kid that has done something wrong and isn't allowed to go to school?" 

According to an arrest affidavit, the victim fell asleep at a bus stop about 2:30 a.m. Oct. 31, 2016, when Gibson Sylvain pulled her arm, leaned over her and said, "I want you to suck my d***."

Authorities said the victim said, "No please, no. I don't do that," but Sylvain raped her orally and vaginally. 

According to the affidavit, the victim reached into her jacket for her pepper spray at one point, but it malfunctioned and she sprayed it on herself. 

The victim said she screamed for help and continued to tell Sylvain "no." Sylvanin then told the woman, "I don't want to hurt you," authorities said. 

The woman told detectives that she eventually stopped resisting when Sylvain raped her and pretended to enjoy it because she was afraid that Sylvain would kill her using the concrete bus bench.

The attack last for about 15 to 20 minutes, authorities said.

According to the affidavit, DNA taken from the victim's sweater was linked to Sylvain.

Detectives believe Sylvain also tried to rape a woman on June 30 at the same bus stop.

The victim in that case told police that a man approached her and told her to "suck my d***."

The woman said she refused and the man knocked her to the ground and repeatedly punched her in the face.

Police said the woman wasn't raped, but because she was attacked at the same location, at the same time of day and there were similar circumstances surrounding the attack as last year's case, detectives believe Sylvain might be the culprit.

However, authorities said there are no witnesses, DNA evidence or surveillance video available in the second case.

Records show Sylvain's pre-trial release was modified Aug. 25 and he was allowed to return to school between 6:20 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

His next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 21.

A post on the Coconut Creek Residents Community Forum Facebook page urged parents who have children that attend the high school to attend a town hall meeting Wednesday night at the school to voice their concerns. 

"If you have a child in Monarch, please be there ... We need to stand as one!" the post read. 

Students who Local 10 News reporter Carlos Suarez spoke to Tuesday said some of their teachers brought up the issue in class, but asked them not to talk about it outside of the classroom.

"They asked us how we felt about it," one student, who did not want to be identified, said. "It's a little bit weird, but as long as the guy isn't doing anything and we don't know the full story yet, right? We don't know if he's innocent or if he's guilty." 

One student told Suarez that he is friends with the suspect and doesn't believe the accusations.

"I don't believe it at all, because he's a really good friend of mine, and I don't believe he would do anything like that," Isaac Barauna said. 

 Still, other students said they are taking precautions.

"I've seen a lot of people go to bathrooms in pairs or after the bell rings, because I don't see people in back rooms. Teachers are going to be more strict with this stuff," Yolanda Sosa said.  

Broward County Public Schools spokeswoman Nadine Drew said in an email that the district is "committed to providing safe and secure learning environments for all students."

She would not comment on Sylvain due to student privacy issues, but said, "The District is required to follow laws governing students' educational rights."

The town hall meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. 

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