The driver admits "he had feelings he did not want to act on and that he needed help," according to a criminal complaint filed this week in Hennepin County court.
On January 27, Jose Tiborio Lopez, 34, of Richfield, refused to let an 11-year-old girl off the bus as he passed her home. The girl attends Minnesota International Middle School in Minneapolis, and it was her second day riding that particular bus home.
The girl got on the school bus at 2:45 p.m. When the girl tried to get off at her stop, Lopez refused to let her off. He told her to sit back down and that he would drop her at the end of his route. The girl and the other children began arguing with Lopez, asking him to let the girl go.
Instead, Lopez continued the route, making several stops until the girl was the only child on the bus. He was mumbling in a language the child could not understand, but using profanity that she could understand.
He stopped the bus, knelt beside the girl, touched her arm and placed his hand on her leg. He asked her questions like "Do you know your language well?"; "Where are you from?"; "How many people do you have in your family?"
The girl began to cry and asked the bus driver to call her mother and bring her home. He called her mother's number but hung up after one ring. He drove around for ten more minutes, then told the girl to get off the bus. She was in an area that she did not know well, and it took the girl until 5 p.m. to reach home.
The girl has not ridden the bus since.
The police report for the incident lists criminal sexual conduct and false imprisonment, but so far Lopez has been charged only with felony false imprisonment.
Lopez was a driver for Monarch Bus Service, a company that the school contracts with. His criminal record includes a 2004 arrest for an attempted robbery, but no child molesting or other criminal activity was on file for him with the Minneapolis Police or the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.