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A school bus driver for American School Bus Company, employed by Orland School District 135, allegedly sexually abused three male students and inappropriately touched two others, all between the ages of 7 and 11, over the past few months.
Arnold L. Monteclar, 57, of 25736 Daffodil Lane in Monee, was charged with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony, and two counts of battery, a Class A misdemeanor, according to a press release issued June 20 by the Orland Park Police Department.
D135 notified police on May 30 that it had received information regarding “possible inappropriate contact” between the driver and a student, according the release. D135 had the driver immediately removed from the route, and Monteclar was subsequently suspended from his job, police said.
Detectives conducted a “lengthy and comprehensive” investigation and determined the driver made physical contact, above the clothing, with three male students, according to the release. That contact rose to the level of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, police said.
The driver also made “inappropriate physical contact” with two males students, again over clothing, which led to the battery charges for “inappropriate unwanted contact,” police said.
The incidents were “brief” encounters with the students as they entered and exited the bus, police said. They reportedly occurred “randomly” between March and May of this year. All five of the students were from D135, Cmdr. Tony Farrell confirmed.
As to whether any of the students faced more than one instance of contact with the driver, Farrell said, “This is information that will be reserved for court proceeding to protect the integrity of the investigation and to protect the privacy of the children.”
D135 made contact with the families of the students on the impacted routes, and notifications were ongoing regarding any additional routes related to the driver, police said. Two routes were identified at this time, Farrell said. All known incidents occurred in Orland Park, he added.
D135 sent a statement from Assistant Superintendent John Bryk to parents regarding the incidents and arrest the afternoon of June 20, according to Jen Obright, the district’s director of communications. The letter stated the district “took immediate action when notified of the situation” and is continuing to work with police on the matter.
“I am both saddened and angered by these events,” Bryk wrote. “Student safety is District 135’s first priority, and we appreciate your partnership in helping us keep our school community safe.”
Obright said the situation was brought to the attention of the district by a parent. She added that the district has offered counseling services to students who need it following the reports.
The bus driver did not have a criminal history, Farrell said.
Monteclar reportedly was arrested at his home on June 19. Judge John Mahoney set his bond at $1 million during a June 20 hearing at the Cook County Courthouse for the Fifth Municipal District in Bridgeview. He had a return court date of July 15.
Anyone with more information is asked to contact the police department at (708) 349-4111.
Update: Updated to add further comments from police, as well as correct charge to abuse.
Update 2: Updated to add statement and comments from D135 officials.