Utah School Bus Driver Facing Molestation Charges

The trial commenced today for a Sandy, Utah school bus driver who is facing molestation charges for inappropriately touching young girls on his bus last year. 61 year old John Martin Carrell faces over 30 counts of molestation charges for allegedly touching two 5 year old girls while he buckled them into their seats.

Sexual Abuse

Molestation is known by law as sexual abuse. According to Utah Code 96-5-404 “A person commits sexual abuse of a child if, under circumstances not amounting to rape of a child, object rape of a child, sodomy on a child, or an attempt to commit any of these offenses, the actor touches the anus, buttocks, or genitalia of any child, the breast of a female child, or otherwise takes indecent liberties with a child, or causes a child to take indecent liberties with the actor or another with intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to any person or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person regardless of the sex of any participant. Sexual abuse of a child is a second degree felony.” In cases such as Carrell’s, because he was in a position of trust as a school district bus driver, if convicted he could face aggravated sexual abuse which is a first degree felony.

Photo by: Shinichi Sugiyama

Photo by: Shinichi Sugiyama

Evidence or lack thereof

While video surveillance showing Carrell spending an excessive amount of time buckling the victims in could possibly seal his fate, often there is no video to incriminate or exonerate the suspect. Besides testimony from the victim, the only evidence usually available in molestation cases is evidence apparent to a physician. Even then, it doesn’t always pinpoint the right suspect. With evidence typically being based solely on testimony, it makes one wonder how many charges are false.

Molestation charges often fabricated

Molestation cases against various people such as bus drivers are frequently showing up in the news and occasionally are found to be fabricated stories. This is extremely unfortunate for those falsely accused of the charges, as it may negatively impact their current and future employment. This may be the case for 44 year old Enrique Napoles of Miami. Napoles was charged with molestation in late February when a student on his private bus claimed he had molested her while they were alone on the bus. After no evidence or witness testimony was found to support the charges, the prosecution dropped the charges. Nothing is known as to whether or not Napoles remained employed with the company; nevertheless many assume they wouldn’t continue to employ someone who had been charged with molestation of a child.

Who makes up the stories?

When someone is found to be innocent of molestation charges, a typical thought after the initial skepticism is: the victim needed attention or was mad at the suspect. While this may be true in a few cases, there are other reasons why people are falsely accused of molestation.
• A child who was in fact molested, but chooses to blame another for reasons such as fear or shame.
• Parents and/or caretakers who notice the child behaving abnormally and proceed to make assumptions.
• Teachers & counselors seeing or hearing about questionable behavior at school, and follow up with a call to law enforcement.
• Someone besides the victim who is angry or otherwise upset with the accused. They may try to punish or hurt the accused by making false allegations.
Besides those strictly out for attention or revenge, these are frequently honest mistakes of an adult seeing “red flags” and making the phone calls that they feel are necessary.

Permanent damage to criminal record

Even if someone is not convicted of molestation or sexual abuse their criminal record may still list the fact that they were arrested for it. Employers are privy to this information before hiring and they don’t always distinguish between convicted and arrested. This can make it difficult for falsely accused individuals to work in employment where children are located such as schools. For information on how you can protect or clean your record or for help in defending yourself against fabricated or factual molestation charges, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Counterfeit Coins for Vending Machines

Slugs are counterfeit coins or other objects similar in size, shape, and weight that are used in place of actual money to illegally deceive vending machines.

Photo by: midorisyu

Photo by: midorisyu

Tricking the candy machines

Over 30 years ago, washers were used often to trick vending machines to release a yummy treat or toy. Additionally, many children over the years have tried to use a penny in quarter machines, only to have it get jammed and not get a toy or treat in the end. These were wrong, almost harmless acts done by mischievous kids; however this act of fooling machines has gotten out of hand.

Moving up in the world

There are many machines nowadays that use coins besides candy vending machines. Slot machines, retail self-checkout tellers, and fare teller machines are a few example of equipment that holds a higher value prize than a .10 cent gumdrop. While using slugs or counterfeit coins in any machine is against the law, cheating one of these higher roller devices can cost the business or machine owner an incredible amount of cash.

New Technology

As we neared the 90’s, vending and other dispense machine owners and creators realized how easily their devices were being taken advantage of. They answered by developing new technology such as: sensors that verify the image on the coin and instruments that test the magnetic sensitivity of the type of metal. Counter measures such as these have helped prevent slugs from being used successfully, but it is still a widespread practice today.

Charges for using slugs

Whether someone is tricking quarter machines or slot machines, there are charges for deliberately defrauding any type of coin equipment by using slugs versus actual coinage. Utah code 76-5-515 states that using, making, or possessing slugs or counterfeit coins punishable by law as a class B misdemeanor. For those who are facing charges for using counterfeit coins, whether intentionally or innocently, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.