CANTON — A school bus driver will not face criminal charges following an investigation into his cell phone communications with a 10-year-old girl.

City Prosecutor Jason Reese said evidence did not support the bus driver being charged, noting the cell phone-related message or messages were not of a sexual nature and not deemed to be criminal.

The bus driver submitted his resignation to the Canton City School District on May 17. He had been suspended pending a school district investigation, which has been completed, Canton City Schools spokeswoman Lisa Reicosky said by email.

Tad Ellsworth, business manager for Canton City Schools, said the school board is expected to accept the driver’s resignation at its next meeting.

The police investigation was conducted after the girl’s parent became concerned about the adult contacting the child via cell phone, Reese said.

“There were some conversations back and forth but nothing that reached the level of a crime,” the city prosecutor said Wednesday afternoon. The driver had communicated with the child through a cell phone app that includes a texting component, Reese said.

A police report had said the 54-year-old man might have engaged in a conversation of a “grooming” nature with the girl. Grooming is a term used to describe behaviors meant to build trust in a potentially vulnerable person who later might become the victim of some form of abuse.

The school district sent a letter home to parents and guardians of children who were on the driver’s route, asking for their cell phones to be checked for any concerning text messages.

 

Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and ed.balint@cantonrep.com

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