Former New Mexico School for the Deaf bus driver faces sexual contact charges
A Santa Fe County grand jury has indicted a 72-year-old former bus driver for the New Mexico School for the Deaf on two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor.
The charges, filed Wednesday in state District Court, are related to allegations that James Parks touched the buttocks of female students who were boarding a school bus he was driving in December 2017, according to New Mexico State Police spokesman Ray Wilson.
State police investigated allegations Parks touched two students, Wilson added.
New Mexico School for the Deaf Superintendent Rosemary Gallegos indicated in an email Thursday that Parks was accused of touching one student, but the charging documents accuse him of touching three students, two under the age of 13 and one between the ages of 13 and 18.
Gallegos said Parks began working for the school part time in 2016 and became a full-time bus driver in 2017.
The school placed him on leave after receiving a report Dec. 5, 2017, that he had “inappropriately touched a student while loading a student into a school vehicle while on campus,” she said.
The school also reported the incident to police, Gallegos said, and “decided that it was in the best interest of the [school] that Mr. Parks be terminated” on Dec. 18, 2017.
Efforts to reach Parks were unsuccessful.
It was unclear Thursday if Parks was ever arrested on the charges.
The Santa Fe County jail’s online inmate log has no record of him having been booked into the facility.
If convicted on the charges, Parks faces up to 7 1/2 years in prison.