Over 1 1/2 years after the investigation began, a former South Kitsap School District bus driver is being charged with one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.
Kitsap prosecutors filed charges Dec. 22 against a 30-year-old Bremerton man.
The sheriff’s office began the investigation in February 2021 after a parent reported a series of Instagram messages between her daughter’s 16-year-old boyfriend and the bus driver. The daughter discovered the messages while scrolling through the boyfriend’s account on her phone, which he had signed in on earlier in the week and forgot to sign out.
A notification led her to the message chain, where it was revealed the bus driver had been asking for explicit photos and videos, as well as requests for sexual favors. The mother saw the messages after seeing her daughter upset then contacted law enforcement.
The boy is identified as Victim 1 out of three male victims identified by investigators after obtaining message threads between the teens and the bus driver via search warrants. The detective wrote that all three received messages containing heavy sexual material.
Investigators interviewed Victim 1 shortly after the crime was reported and again in 2022 while he was undergoing inpatient treatment for substance abuse. He said he remembers communicating with the bus driver over the phone and that he did not send a video of himself with his girlfriend, but a screenshot of a separate video from the internet.
A common theme noted in the court documents was the bus driver offering to “supply the juveniles with marijuana” in exchange for intimate pictures. Victim 3 confirmed that he had exchanged a picture of himself in exchange for marijuana.
The bus driver reportedly admitted to the crimes.