A 9-year-old boy was arrested after he lifted a female classmate's skirt and touched her, authorities said.

The boy, a third-grader at Booker Elementary School (search), was released to his parents after being booked Monday at the Sarasota County jail on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation.

School principal Gwendolyn Rigell said the boy had been suspended before because of a pattern of "repeated acts that are sexual in nature."

He was accused of touching the girl, who is also 9, as they rode home Friday on a school bus. This week, the boy admitted he had abused her, according to his arrest report.

According to the report, the boy grabbed the girl's hands and held them behind her back in the seat; he then lifted her skirt and touched her, the report says. He also pulled her shirt up around her neck, saying, "Look, she is not wearing a bra," according to the report.

Potential penalties, in the event the boy is found guilty, include outpatient therapy, probation and juvenile commitment, prosecutors said.

"Just because it's a felony, it doesn't mean he's going away," said Rod Haynes (search), an assistant state attorney. "The younger the child, the less inclined we are to try a commitment program."