PORTLAND, Ore. -- A bus driver for special needs children in Tigard has been arrested for the alleged sexual abuse of a student who rode his bus.
Mario Mendez Ruiz, 60, of Hillsboro. is an employee of the Tigard-Tualatin School District and was put on paid administrative leave after the district heard about the allegations, according to Tigard Police Department spokesman Jim Wolf.
"Earlier this month, a female student revealed to school officials that she had been sexually abused by Ruiz while riding on a school bus," Wolf said. "The occurrences began in late March. Upon learning, school officials immediately contacted Tigard police, who then met with the victim and the parent."
Investigators talked with other students who rode on that bus route and law enforcement is unaware of any additional victims, Wolf said.
Ruiz was arrested Wednesday and jailed on charges of kidnapping, criminal mistreatment and sexual abuse.
"The incidents reportedly occurred after all the students were unloaded from a school bus except the victim," Wolf said. "On two occasions, Ruiz deviated his route and drove the bus to a nearby neighborhood and parked. Once the bus stopped, Ruiz would then take a seat next to the student and the sexual abuse would occur. On one occasion, Ruiz provided the victim money along with instructions not to tell anyone of their friendship."
Statement from Tigard police:
Police and other child safety professionals have always advocated that parents maintain open dialogues with their children while encouraging them to freely express their feelings or worries without reprisal. These steps are vital in the continuous battle to combat child sex abuse. Tigard Police cannot overstate their mission to help keep all children safe. Building trust and encouraging communication is what Tigard Police does every day. Parents can learn more about the prevention of child abuse at: http://www.nsvrc.org
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