Bus monitor accused of inappropriately touching girl with Down syndrome



PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa. - A former school bus monitor in Penn Trafford accused of inappropriately touching a girl with special needs turned himself into police Thursday, authorities said.

According to the criminal complaint, 74-year-old James Hopkins, of Ardera, touched a girl with Down syndrome on more than one occasion.

The criminal complaint said the girl's mother told Hopkins in February to give her daughter space after she said he was sitting too close and bothering her.

“The bus driver alerted the First Student bus company about the touching in June. He said when police reviewed surveillance video from the bus, they saw him doing it in three separate times,” Penn Township police Chief John Otto said.

Otto commended Penn Trafford interim superintendent Dr. Matthew Harris for his quick action. He was at the arraignment Thursday and made sure Hopkins was taken off the bus as soon as the allegations surfaced.

“This is not an allegation we’re going to take lightly or put on the back burner. It is something we jumped into right away,” Otto said.

First Student bus company said Hopkins was fired in June and worked for them for eight years. They said his background check came out clean.

Hopkins, who was freed after posting $50,000 bond, is facing sexual assault charges.