A school bus driver in California is behind bars after being accused of raping at least two children who rode his school bus, over the course of a decade, KCBS-TV (San Francisco) is reporting.
Bill Harvey, 58, had been a bus driver for the Salinas Union High School District for at least a decade. That came to an end, however, on or around February 22. It was at that time that a passer-by noticed a man “harassing” a female victim, and called the police.
That call would prompt an investigation that would end with Harvey behind bars, facing five felony counts.
Beginning eight years ago, according to KION, Harvey allegedly began a sexual relationship with a female rider on his bus. The 13-year-old was physically and developmentally disabled. Authorities say that Harvey would purchase gifts for her – and his other alleged victim – and have contact with the victims outside of his normal job duties.
Both victims say that Harvey touched them inappropriately and forced them to commit sex acts against their will. The alleged rapes continued until as recently as late last year.
Commander John Murray says that Harvey abused his position of trust in the most horrible way imaginable.
“This is a terrible case. We have somebody here in a position of trust that took advantage of that position of trust and victimized some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
Harvey has been booked into the Monterey County Jail, where he faces charges of rape of a person unable to give consent, rape by force or fear, lewd acts upon a child, kidnapping, and stalking. Authorities say that he’s being kept segregated from the other inmates, due to both the severity of his alleged crimes, and for Harvey’s own safety.
In a statement, Salinas Union High School District told KION that Harvey is no longer employed by the district.
“We placed this employee on administrative leave, and as a result, he will have no contact with any Salinas Union High School District student.”
Harvey is not the first school bus driver to have been accused of using his position to have inappropriate sexual contact with students. As The Boston Globe reported in 2017, Henry Gonzalez had managed to escape justice for nearly 20 years, before being arrested for allegedly kidnapping and raping a girl who rode his bus back in 1998. He never showed up for his appointed court date and was placed on Massachusetts’ Most Wanted List, where he remained for two decades.
Meanwhile, in a 2016 case from Tennessee, as reported by USA Today, bus driver Alexander Rodriguez avoided jail time after pleading guilty to statutory rape. Rodriguez, who was accused of raping a 15-year-old girl, entered a plea deal that resulted in a four-year suspended sentence.