Bus Driver Pleads Guilty to Child Enticement Offense
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSE MANUEL SANTOS, 37, of Bridgeport, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Santos was employed as a bus/van driver in Connecticut with responsibilities that included transporting children going to and from a middle school in Wallingford. In October 2018, law enforcement received information that Santos was sexually soliciting a 13-year-old girl who was a passenger on his route. Analysis of the minor victim’s cell phone revealed more than 200 text messages or calls between Santos and the victim, a sexually explicit photo of Santos that Santos sent to the minor victim, and multiple messages in which Santos coerced the victim to send him a sexually explicit photo of her.
Santos has been detained since his arrest on November 2, 2018. After his arrest, Santos communicated with others in an attempt to prevent the minor victim from testifying against him.
Judge Meyer scheduled sentencing for May 21, 2020, at which time Santos faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of life imprisonment.
This matter is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Connecticut Department of Correction. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nancy V. Gifford and Brian P. Leaming.
This prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
To report cases of child exploitation, please visit www.cybertipline.com.