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Florida school bus driver allegedly groped and kissed 10-year-old girl after helping secure her wheelchair

Tomas Andres Cabrera (Collier County Sheriff's Office)

Tomas Andres Cabrera (Collier County Sheriff’s Office)

A 57-year-old school bus driver in Florida has been arrested after he was allegedly caught on surveillance camera groping and kissing a 10-year-old girl while she was in her wheelchair. Tomas Andres Cabrera was taken into custody last week and charged with one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a victim under age 12, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, deputies with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 7:31 p.m. on March 30 responded to a call from a school district employee who reported that a 10-year-old student had been “touched on her breast by her school bus driver.”

The victim, identified in court documents as “JR,” is described as “a physically disabled person due to suffering from Spina Bifida” who requires the use of a wheelchair because she “does not have feeling from her belly button down.” Due to her condition, police say school bus staff must help JR in getting on and off of the bus.

The district employee told deputies that JR approached him, claiming that “while she and her wheelchair were being secured in the bus, the bus driver touched and kissed her left breast, over her clothes,” according to the affidavit. Investigators identified the driver as Cabrera and pulled security camera footage from inside of the vehicle.

In a description of the security footage, investigators say Cabrera and a female bus attendant can be seen securing JR into her position on the bus. When the female attendant is behind JR, Cabrera allegedly places his hand on JR’s thigh “for a few moments.” The female attendant then walks away and Cabrera remains.

“At one point [Cabrera] appeared to lean very close into JR’s chest area and seemingly appeared to kiss her left breast,” the affidavit states. “Next, [Cabrera] clearly touched/dragged his hand across JR’s left breast with his right hand then walks away. This movement appeared to be intentional and not in any way incidental.”

Investigators on Friday, March 31 interviewed Cabrera in his home located in the 5200 block of 24th Avenue Southwest. A description of what the bus driver said is redacted from the affidavit filed in the case. However, following the interview, Cabrera was taken into custody and transported to the Collier County Jail.

Jail records indicate that Cabrera remained in custody as of Tuesday morning. No bond information was available. He is scheduled to appear in court again for his arraignment on April 24.

The Collier County School District gave the following statement to Cape Coral Fox affiliate WFTX-TV:

“We have been informed of an arrest by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) of bus driver Tomas Cabrera. Upon learning of the allegations, CCPS immediately removed Mr. Cabrera from all routes and terminated his employment with the District.  The matter is currently under criminal investigation and the District is cooperating with CCSO.”

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.