By Kathy Antoniotti
Beacon Journal staff writer
STOW: A bus driver was arrested Thursday for offering a 23-year-old developmentally disabled woman $12 to commit a sex act as he transported her to day care, authorities said.
Reinaldo Luis Velazquez-Ortiz, 48, of Stow, a bus driver for Precious Cargo Transportation of Cuyahoga Falls, was charged Wednesday with abduction, soliciting and compelling prostitution for the incident in June, said Inspector Bill Holland of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
The young woman “was afraid for her safety,” and refused to comply when Velazquez-Ortiz pulled to the side of the road and gave her the money, according to an incident report from the sheriff’s office.
He told her to keep the money in exchange for her not reporting the incident, the sheriff’s office said.
Detective Joe Storad, who has been assigned to Summit County Developmental Disability Board since August, was investigating a similar incident involving Velazquez-Ortiz on Sept. 27 when he uncovered the June complaint, Holland said.
In September, the mother of a 22-year-old developmentally disabled woman said her daughter told her that Velazquez-Ortiz made her disrobe after stopping the bus at a secluded, wooded area in Peninsula. Following the incident, Velazquez-Ortiz reportedly drove to the day care center and dropped her off.
Billie David, communications director with the Summit disability board, said the Major Unusual Incident and Registry Unit investigated the June incident and referred the complaint to the Akron Police Department.
“We are not a criminal entity,” David said. “We can’t bring charges against anybody. When that incident first came in, because it was a criminal nature, we referred it to Akron Police Department who declined to investigate it. We investigated but our burden of proof that we have to have in our investigations is very different from a criminal arresting entity’s burden of proof.”
Although the complaints couldn’t be substantiated, David said, the transportation company was directed and agreed to notify its clients that Velazquez-Ortiz was under investigation by the Major Unusual Incidents department.
Akron police said they received information that differed from what was uncovered by the sheriff’s office.
“The crime that was reported to us is totally different than what we have on this case. Ours was a misdemeanor charge and Summit County’s is a felony charge,” said Lt. Rick Edwards, spokesman for the Akron Police Department.
The woman or her guardian could have pursued the issue with the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office if there was more information than what had been reported to police, he said.
A man who answered the phone at Precious Cargo Transportation declined to comment on the issue and refused to say if Velazquez-Ortiz was employed by the company.
The sheriff’s office said it expects to file additional charges against Velazquez-Ortiz in the September incident. He is currently in the Summit County Jail.
Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.