***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***
Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.
BLOG POST #186: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific crime involving a school bus driver.
This 40-something man had worked for the county for seventeen years. He’d been a school bus driver for five years.
She was 9-years-old and a special needs student at the time of her sexual assault.
The victim had been transferred to a different school to serve her developmental disability better. She rode the bus to and from school—the last student to get off—she rode for approximately fifteen minutes alone.
Many buses nowadays have GPS tracking and video cameras on both the inside to record student behavior and the outside to record traffic.
Caught On Camera
The GPS and interior camera footage showed the bus driver several times deviated from his route and parked for 10 minutes in an uninhabited area. He directed the student to switch from her front seat near the door to the front seat behind the driver—and out of camera view.
He did a quick check inside the bus to be sure they were alone, looked around outside, and then he sat next to the little girl. From my experience, nothing good will come from this scenario. His movements were only partially visible on camera, but that was enough.
Tell An Adult
When the student told her parents the bus driver showed her a pornographic video and touched her private parts her parents notified the school and the transportation supervisor. After supposedly watching the videos, the supervisor told the parents there was nothing on the video to support the student’s allegations. He continued to be her bus driver.
After the student told her parents the bus driver had sexually abused her several times and told her if she told anyone he’d do something terrible to her, the parents removed her from the bus service.
At an IEP meeting (Individualized Education Plan), the parents told the school district and department of education representatives what their daughter had said happened to her. The parents waited almost two weeks—hearing nothing—they went to the local authorities.
Failure To Report
After reviewing the bus videos and GPS tracking, law enforcement arrested the bus driver.
During the bus driver’s initial interview he admitted to sexually abusing the student. The officers also found, in his criminal record, he had a prior conviction of “peeping.”
In exchange for pleading guilty to two felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child with force, the district attorney dropped the charges of sexual penetration of a child and sharing harmful material with intent to seduce a minor.
The judge sentenced the defendant to 16 years in prison. Upon his release, he will be required to register as a sex offender for life and receive 20 years of parole supervision.
Worth Mentioning: The student’s family is suing the school district and department of education for failure to keep their daughter safe and failure to report the suspected child abuse.
What are your thoughts about this case? Do you think the school district failed to protect this student? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.
Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.
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