UPDATE: Ashland Bus Driver Arrested for Alleged Sexual Assault of a Child

Updated: January 15, 2019 07:01 PM

The Ashland Police Department said a 52-year-old Ashland man, who is a school bus driver, and who they describe as a religious leader, was arrested for alleged sexual assault to a child under the age of 16 years old and exposing a child to harmful material.  

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Authorities said they received a report in November 2018 from an adult female alleging she was sexually assaulted on multiple occasions by a male from 2009 to 2010, while living in the City of Ashland.  

The woman was a minor at the time of the alleged offenses, according to the police department.

In a letter sent out to parents and guardians, Ashland School District Superintendent Erik Olson said he was informed by authorities of the allegations. He said the alleged incident occurred while the accused was not under supervision. It reportedly occurred off school property and "outside of the school day."

Olson says he doesn't know where the alleged incidents took place, but that he was told by police they didn't happen while the alleged suspect was supervising kids in the Ashland School District.

"It's concerning that this can happen," said Olson. "Sometimes people do things that you don't anticipate that they're going to do but when they do it's our responsibility to communicate," he said.  

The driver works for Lake Shore Buses, Inc., which is the district's contracted busing company. Olson says the driver has been placed on leave as an employee of that company, and will no longer drive for the district.  

Olson says both the district and Lake Shore Buses, Inc. have a thorough process to make sure things like this don't happen. He believes Lake Shore Buses, Inc. vetted the suspect before hiring him as well.

"We have protocols in place that when we hire an employee, they go through a thorough vetting process, and we work with the police department, and we conduct background checks to make sure that they are ready to come and serve, and serve at high levels and not to put our children in danger," said Olson. 

After interviews and an investigation by the Ashland Police Department, the suspect was taken into custody on January 11. 

He was taken to the Ashland County Jail on $1,000 bail, but posted bail Monday afternoon, according to Ashland Police Chief Jim Gregoire.

The letter said the district is cooperating with local law enforcement officials as their investigation continues. 

The suspect's initial appearance is scheduled for January 28.

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