Florida school bus driver arrested for allegedly molesting at least four special needs students
A Florida school bus driver was arrested Thursday for allegedly molesting at least four special needs students, authorities said.
Carlos Ojeda, 72, of Haines City, was charged with 10 counts of capital sexual battery. Polk County Sheriff’s investigators said Ojeda used candy to lure special needs students onto his bus and then sexually abused him, WFLA-TV reported.
A student at Horizons Elementary School in Davenport told his school counselor Wednesday that he saw Ojeda repeatedly put his hands down the pants of two female students, officials said. Fox 13 News reported investigators checked the school bus video surveillance system and saw Ojeda motioning to the girls and flashing candy from the stairwell of the bus.
Investigators said Ojeda had candy in his pocket when he was arrested.
According to Fox 13 News, the video shows Ojeda pulling a girl toward him and sexually abusing her out of the view of other students. He then gave her candy as she went to the back of the bus to sit down. Investigators said similar scenes played out three separate times over the last week.
Since his arrest, Ojeda has admitted to inappropriately touching two girls – each of whom under 12 years old – eight times.
"There are no words to describe the depravity displayed by this suspect," Sheriff Grady Judd offered. "He drives a school bus, where he has access to these precious children. He lures them with candy, and physically assaults them in such a way that nobody will see it, or report it."
The Polk County School Board told Fox 13 News Ojeda drove a school bus for three different schools and has been employed by the country since April 2007.
Detectives plan to interview all the school children Ojeda has been around, as well as their parents, to try and identify other victims.
“Together with the Polk County School Board we are committed to keeping children safe. Thanks to their quick actions in reporting this, we were able to prevent this monster from hurting anyone else,” Judd said.