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School Bus Driver Arrested on Suspicion of Molestation

Update: A 3-year-old girl is among his alleged victims. He didn't meet the children on the job, authorities say. Arraignment is set for Jan. 20.

A 37-year-old Laguna Hills man who drives a school bus for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District was behind bars Thursday on suspicion of molesting three children, an Orange County sheriff's spokesman said.

Shane Norman Crawford was arrested at his home Wednesday night on suspicion of three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child, said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Crawford had been working for First Student Transportation Services, which provides buses for the school district, but none of his alleged victims were children he met on the job, Amormino said. He had been a school bus driver in south Orange County for 12 years, Amormino added.

“Actually, he even admitted a sexual attraction to young people," Amormino said. "That’s unusual.”

Crawford is accused of molesting a 3-year-old girl, a girl younger than 14 and a boy younger than 14, Amormino said. He allegedly molested the children this month in the apartment complex where he lives, Amormino said. The children live in the same complex as Crawford, Amormino added.

On Wednesday, one of the female victims told her grandmother what allegedly happened, which led to Crawford's arrest that night, Amormino said.

Amormino also said it’s “very possible” Crawford has driven in other school districts, because Cincinnati-based First Student is the largest student transportation service in America. The company's website claims to have 68,000 employees and service more than 6 million children daily. Crawford was hired in August 2000.

"Because of his employment and access to kids, investigators fear there may be more victims," Amormino said.

According to a bus company spokesman, First Student has not been able to pin down if Crawford drove any students outside of Saddleback Valley Unified.

"At this moment, the bus driver has been removed, and we're working with local law enforcement, providing any information they need," said Timothy Stokes, spokesman for the company.

Capistrano Unified School District spokesman Marcus Walton said Crawford had never driven any Capistrano Unified students. 

"He has not worked for the district, nor has the district ever employed First Student," Walton said.

As of Friday, Crawford was being held on $250,000 bail, according to jail records. His arraignment was scheduled for Jan. 20 after a court appearance Friday.

Anyone with information connected to the case is asked to call 800-TIP-OCCS.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

Marcus Walton December 22, 2011 at 09:48 PM
Mr. Crawford has not been employed by the Capistrano Unified School District, nor has the district used First Student Transportation Services. --Marcus E. Walton Chief Communications Officer Capistrano Unified School District
Marian December 22, 2011 at 09:48 PM
What a great idea. Cameras on the school buses. Unfortunately, we just can't trust anyone with our children these days.
Claudia Tuckman December 22, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Every other state Ive lived in has had cameras on school buses. How is it the great state of California places such a low priority on the safety of our children?
N S January 05, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Sadly, a camera on the bus wouldn't have made a difference here, since his activities took place elsewhere. My daughter rode his bus. Her comment was "but he was so nice". Kids don't realize that in most cases most of these offenders don't have "creepy molester" written across their foreheads. Look at Sandusky.
Kel8856 January 29, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Yes, thats why its so important to teach our kids without scaring them. Please talk to your childrens school and see if they will implement this program, its amazing! http://www.radkids.org/

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