A former Saddleback Valley Unified School District bus driver has pleaded guilty to molesting a 12-year-old girl in a deal that had charges involving a 3-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy dismissed. Shane Norman Crawford of Laguna Hills did not meet any of the children on the job.
Crawford copped Tuesday to two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor and was immediately sentenced to eight years in prison. In what was key to prosecutors, he was also ordered to register as a lifetime sex offender. "That will keep him away from all children for the rest of his life," Deputy District Attorney Nicole Nicholson told City News Service.
Originally accused of molesting three children in his apartment, Crawford was only convicted of molesting the 12-year-old girl after befriending her parents in the apartment complex where they all lived. The girl told her grandmother, and the Orange County Sheriff's Department launched the investigation that uncovered the other two children.
If Crawford had been convicted after pleading not guilty to the original charges that included all three children, he could have gone to prison for 75 years.
When Crawford was originally booked in December 2011, he had been behind the wheel of school buses for 12 years, most recently with First Student Transportation Services, which served Saddleback Valley Unified and several other school districts.