School bus driver charged in rape of 12-year-old girl with special needs

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Police believe school bus driver Etienne Kabongo may have other victims.

Concern is growing among parents of a Maryland community after a school bus driver who transported students to and from more than 12 campuses was accused of sexually assaulting a student.

Police say a security camera captured the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl with special needs who was riding the bus last Tuesday.

Driver Etienne Kabongo is facing multiple charges, including second-degree rape, and investigators believe there may be other victims, WJLA-TV reports.

"You know it never occurred to me that a bus was an unsafe place," parent Lyda Astrove said.

Lyda's son, Scott, has autism and rode on Kabongo's school bus from 2009 to 2011.

Now she says she can't help but worry about the potential victims that might be out there.

"If anything had ever happened on his bus, I would never have known. Individuals with special needs may or may not be able to tell you what happened to them," Lyda said.

Kabonga's nephew says he believes his uncle is innocent.

"I know my uncle," Mwanza Tshilumbayi said. "I know my uncle, so he can't do something stupid like that."

Officials at Montgomery County Public Schools say the bus driver has been put on leave pending an investigation, but that Kabongo will not return to his bus routes.

Kabongo is being held in the Montgomery County Jail without bond.
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sex crimeschild sex assaultrapeu.s. & worldschool busspecial needs childrenMaryland