By Todd Quinones

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia police are investigating a reported sexual assault of a 12-year-old boy in the city’s Mantua section.

Police are looking for the suspect, who could be as young as 14.

Neighbors in Mantua are stunned after learning a boy was sexually assaulted on his way to Morton McMichael Elementary School. The assault happened just before 8:30 a.m. Monday.

“It’s a shame the children cannot walk the street without fear of someone violating them,” resident Tamika Trapp said.

Police indicated the boy was walking on 38th Street between Brown and Aspen when he was grabbed and assaulted in an overgrown alley.

The 12-year-old then walked to the school about three blocks away and told officials what happened.

Parents who live nearby are troubled.

“It was very disturbing. They walk to school and to have something that could potentially happen to them is very alarming,” parent Keitera Coble said.

Morton McMichael Principal Brian Wallace sent home a letter to parents.

While the investigation is ongoing, he said, “We recommend that you consider walking your child to and from school, and/or encouraging children from the neighborhood to walk in groups.”

Police indicated the suspect could be about 14-years-old and was wearing what appeared to be a school uniform, although it’s not clear what school he might go to.

“It’s a high crime area and now children are getting molested. That’s not acceptable,” parent Crystal Thomas said.

Police say the suspect was last seen wearing a red shirt with blue pants.

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