Hanford parents concerned over bus driver accused of child molestation

April 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A school bus driver who is responsible for severely handicapped children is accused of child molestation.

Daniel Jaramillo Lucero drives for Shelly Baird School in Hanford, and was arrested in Visalia on April 1st. Three weeks later-- some South Valley parents want to know why they weren't notified about the driver's arrest.

School leaders say the victim is not a student at Shelly Baird School, that isn't stopping one local family from trying to warn other parents about his arrest.

Jaime Solis tells us that his daughter, 16-year-old Rylee Williams gets on the school bus everyday. Unlike some of her peers, cerebral palsy prevents the teen from communicating. "She can't tell us anything, she's one or two years old mentally."

Solis said he's always said that his biggest fear is what could happen to his daughter in his absence. "We requested a female aid or somebody there with them on the bus so it wasn't him by himself and they said they couldn't do that."

He says that request was made in September. More than 6 months later, he saw his daughter's bus driver pictured in a mug shot on ABC30.

Visalia Police say 48-year-old Daniel Lucero molested a 13-year-old girl. The victim told police that Lucero is a family friend. She claims she was molested several times over a period of several years.

"So it means that the whole time he was driving my daughter to school he had already been doing.. hadn't been caught but was involved in something very wrong," said Solis.

School leaders say parents should not be concerned as there's been no past complaints about Lucero. Rick Rayburn, Superintendent for Lemoore Union Elementary School District said, "Nothing in particular about this driver or any other driver had been reported at anytime to give us any reason to be concerned."

Rayburn is on the transportation board for Kings County Schools and says Lucero has not been driving school buses since his arrest. He also says parents have not been notified about what happened-- for a reason. "We don't have at the present time enough information to know exactly which parents, which students were on a bus that he might have driven, which parents who therefore we'd notify."

But Jaime Solis says he'll take it upon himself to tell everyone he knows. He's also not giving up the effort to put a female aide on the bus route. "I get so upset that they're not safeguarding our children... is hiring an aide to be on that bus really going to break our budget here for these kids?"

Lucero is on leave, and is suspended from his job as a bus driver pending the outcome of the investigation. He's being held at the Tulare County Jail on a $1-million bond.


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