Fifth victim added to allegations against North Shore bus driverThe prosecution will ask to amend its complaint Wednesday to add a fifth charge of criminal sexual conduct against North Shore Community School bus driver Jimmy Jerome James, 62.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
A North Shore Community School bus driver accused of sexually assaulting four preteen girls is scheduled to appear Wednesday in St. Louis County District Court with the prosecution seeking to amend its complaint and charge him with the sexual assault of a fifth girl.
Another document filed by St. Louis County prosecutor Nathaniel Stumme states that the prosecution has “confessions, admissions or statements in the nature of confessions” made by the driver, Jimmy Jerome James of Two Harbors. That means James made some statement during the investigation that the prosecution may be able to use in its case, but it is not necessarily an admission of a crime.
James’ defense attorney, Joanna Wiegert of Cloquet, said her client made no such admission. She said she’s seen no evidence that her client made any self-incriminating statements or statements of any kind to law enforcement.
“In my opinion, no such documents exist,’’ she said.
James, 62, is free after posting a $100,000 bond. He was charged April 12 with four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for engaging in sexual contact with four North Shore Community School students between the ages of 6 and 10. According to the criminal complaint, James placed his hands under the girls’ clothes and touched them on their buttocks, chests and “private parts.”
The alleged victims were interviewed at the First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center last month. One girl told an interviewer that the bus driver let kids sit on his lap so they could open the bus door. She said that James touched her in a way that made her feel sick and that she knew several other girls who were touched in the same way by the defendant. She provided the names of six female students.
In the amended complaint, a fifth count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct is alleged against James, claiming he had sexual contact with a 10-year-old girl while she was opening the bus doors. She said the touching was over her clothing and happened only once.
North Shore Community School is a charter school sponsored by Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, with 261 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, in St. Louis County.
The suspect has been a full-time employee of the Lake Superior School District for the past 38 years and most recently was head janitor at Two Harbors High School. He worked part-time as a school bus driver. North Shore Community School is within the Lake Superior school district but is separate. They share bus services.