School Bus Driver Released on Bond in Sex Case
A school bus driver in Fulton County who was accused of having inappropriate sexual relations with a student is out of jail now, after being released on a $20,000 bond.
The bus driver, Jacqueline Connally, was fired during her second year working for Fulton when the school district learned that she had had a previous relationship with a male student who rode her bus. The district learned of their relationship when another came forward with the story.
The boy, who is now seventeen years old, was sixteen at the time of the relationship. Connally was twenty-one.
The age of consent in Georgia is sixteen, so normally the boy would have been able to consent to a sexual relationship with an older woman, but the situation was complicated by the fact that as a bus driver, Connally was legally in a position of authority over the boy. State law allows for sex crimes to be charged in situations where one individual is in a position of authority as a disciplinary or supervisory figure over another.
Connally, now twenty-two, was arrested from her Union City home on charges of sexual battery. Those charges have since been changed to sexual assault. This change was made by Fulton Magistrate Judge James Altman.
Altman explained the change to the felony charge of sexual assault was based on Connally’s position as a bus driver.
Along with setting the bond at $20,000, Judge Altman has ordered that Connally have no unsupervised contact with any minors under the age of eighteen. The school district has contacted the DFCS. If convicted, Connally will have to register as a sex offender.
While this may seem extreme, it’s important to remember that these laws exist to protect our children from harm in situations which are often dangerous for them.
Earlier this month, a school bus driver in Wyoming County West Virginia was convicted of sexually abusing one of the students on his route. In this case, the forty-six year old man was accused of having sex with a sixteen year old girl in the summer school program. He asked the girl in a note to meet him, and when she did, proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her. DNA evidence confirmed him as the perpetrator.
The man, Robert Junior Thomas, claims that he was not acting in a supervisory capacity when the actions occurred, so he should not be treated as the girl’s guardian.
The sentencing date has not been set yet, but Thomas faces up to twenty years in prison for this crime.
Of all sexual assault victims, 44% are under the age of eighteen. 12% of girls and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 report being the victims of sexual abuse, and 93% of all juvenile sexual abuse victims know their attackers.
According to the World Health Organization, victims of sexual assault suffer from elevate rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and are more likely to commit suicide than their peers.