Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Sandy school bus driver investigation now extends to Draper

By Sam Penrod and Pat Reavy, Deseret News

Published: Wed, May 14 5:50 p.m. MDT

 A Canyons School District bus drives near Altara Elementary  in Sandy Tuesday, May 13, 2014.  Police in Draper are now investigating whether a former school bus driver under investigation in Sandy for allegations of child sex abuse on the bus may have also committed crimes in their jurisdiction.

A Canyons School District bus drives near Altara Elementary in Sandy Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Police in Draper are now investigating whether a former school bus driver under investigation in Sandy for allegations of child sex abuse on the bus may have also committed crimes in their jurisdiction.

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

DRAPER — Police in Draper are now investigating whether a former school bus driver under investigation in Sandy for allegations of child sex abuse on the bus may have also committed crimes in their jurisdiction.

The bus driver, who has since resigned, worked for the Canyons School District and drove preschool children to a special education program at Altara Elementary School, 800 E. 11000 South.

After a complaint was made by a parent to the school district, the district contacted Sandy police. Investigators reviewed three months of surveillance video from the bus and have presented their case to the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office for possible charges. As of Wednesday, the man had not been arrested or charged.

A parent in Draper recently noticed her child's bus driver had changed, about the same time as the allegations against the Sandy driver were revealed.

"I kind of put two and two together, called the district, then called Sandy police, then called Draper police and it was confirmed," she said.

As of Wednesday, there were no allegations of misconduct in Draper. But Jana, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her 13-year-old child, said the driver in question also drove special needs children on his route in Draper.

"My son has been alone with this bus driver several times and I have seen other students unescorted with this bus driver as well," she said. "My child is not verbal and so I have no way of knowing anything except by finding out through the footage of the cameras that were on the bus. ... I want to know from that footage was my son involved and is he OK."

Jana said she was never notified by the Canyons School District that the bus driver being investigated in Sandy also drove her child to school. Draper police didn't know either, saying they were just notified of the Draper route Tuesday night.

Canyons School District spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook claimed Wednesday she could not confirm whether the driver also had a bus route in Draper, saying it's because the former driver has not been charged or arrested.

She said if parents have a concern about a bus driver, they can call the district office. "We will answer questions according to policy," she said. "When people call to ask about their own child, we give them answers."

Toomer-Cook said all allegations received by the district have been investigated. If parents have concerns about possible abuse, she said they should call police.

Sandy police said their investigation focused on the bus route in their city and they did not receive any indication of possible abuse in Draper. Sandy Police Sgt. Jon Arnold said Wednesday he wasn't sure if his investigator was notified that the bus driver had an additional Draper route. If there were allegations of abuse in Draper, it would be up to the school district to contact Draper police, he said.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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1. wer
South Jordan, UT,
May 14, 2014

Sounds like the usual "let's protect the possible criminal and ourselves and then worry about the victims".

2. EJM
Herriman, UT,
May 15, 2014

Wer: innocent until proven guilty?

3. bleeding purple
Santa Ana, CA,
May 15, 2014

If they have him on tape why hasn't he at least been arrested yet? I worry about being fired for being a few minutes late to work and this guy gets to resign after hurting children? Wow

4. Dante
Salt Lake City, UT,
May 15, 2014

Who says they have him on tape, molesting a child? Maybe they have him on tape, appearing to take a bit too much time buckling in the students into their seat belts or similar safety restraints. Should the authorities therefore arrest him and notify the world that he's a child molester on the strength of a tape that is less than definitive? As a taxpayer whose taxes pay to support these schools, I don't want the schools making announcements prematurely and having to pay out huge damages in a slander lawsuit just to satisfy the curiosity of those reading the Deseret News in California. Let the investigation run its course.

5. bleeding purple
Santa Ana, CA,
May 15, 2014

Well Dante, if my kid was on that bus I would rather the school district err on the side of caution and take the driver off the bus and away from children until its proven one way or the other ... don't give him another chance to hurt a child. You're more concerned with the threat of a slander lawsuit than the safety of a child?