Lu­cia Mar bus driver gets long sen­tence for molest­ing girl

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY MATT FOUN­TAIN mfoun­[email protected]­bune­news.com

Be­fore a for­mer bus driver for the Lu­cia Mar Uni­fied School Dis­trict was sen­tenced to 16 years in prison Wed­nes­day for molest­ing a stu­dent on his route, he told the judge he’s “just glad there’s clo­sure.”

Ar­royo Grande res­i­dent David Ken­neth Lamb, who abused a then-9year-old girl over a pe­riod of about four months in 2017, had pleaded no con­test in Fe­bru­ary to two felony charges of com­mit­ting lewd acts on a child.

Asked if he wanted to make a state­ment, Lamb said he’s pleased the case is com­ing to a con­clu­sion and that he has “a date to get back to my family.”

“The rest, I’ll just keep to my­self,” Lamb told Su­pe­rior Court Judge Denise de Belle­feuille. “Thank you so much.”

In ex­change for his plea, other charges of sex­ual pen­e­tra­tion of a child and shar­ing harm­ful ma­te­rial with in­tent to se­duce a mi­nor were dis­missed.

Un­der the terms of his plea agree­ment, Lamb will serve eight years apiece for the two charges, with credit for a little more than two years of time served, and must pay $9,600 in resti­tu­tion to the vic­tim, with more resti­tu­tion pos­si­ble should the girl re­quire coun­sel­ing and other treat­ment.

Once out of prison, Lamb, 50, will have to main­tain life­time reg­is­tra­tion as a sex of­fender. Had he taken his case to trial, Lamb faced the possibility of life in prison.

At a Fe­bru­ary 2018 pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing, a Sher­iff’s Of­fice de­tec­tive tes­ti­fied that the girl, who was Lamb’s sole pas­sen­ger dur­ing por­tions of his route, was abused from about Jan. 1, 2017, to May 30, 2017.

The vic­tim told of­fi­cials that, through­out that time, Lamb showed her pornog­ra­phy on his cell phone, touched her sex­u­ally and exposed him­self to her.

The de­tec­tive also tes­ti­fied that a dis­trict trans­porta­tion su­per­vi­sor con­ducted an internal in­ves­ti­ga­tion after re­ceiv­ing complaints from the girl’s family but cleared Lamb to re­turn to his route, where the abuse al­legedly con­tin­ued.

“They didn’t believe (the al­leged vic­tim),” De­tec­tive Devashish Menghra­jani said of the school dis­trict. “(A su­per­vi­sor) as­sumed the vic­tim wasn’t telling the truth.”

Lu­cia Mar Su­per­in­ten­dent Andy Sten­son pre­vi­ously said that dis­trict staff are “deeply sad­dened by this sit­u­a­tion.”

“Since we first be­came aware of the charges against this bus driver, we co­op­er­ated closely with law en­force­ment as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion moved for­ward,” Sten­son said in a state­ment. “Please un­der­stand that stu­dent pri­vacy, per­son­nel and on­go­ing lit­i­ga­tion pre­vent us from com­ment­ing fur­ther.”The school dis­trict is cur­rently fac­ing a law­suit from the girl’s family over her mo­lesta­tion by the dis­trict em­ployee. A trial set­ting con­fer­ence has been sched­uled in that case for June 25. Prior to Wed­nes­day’s sen­tenc­ing hear­ing, de Belle­feuille ap­proved a KSBY-TV re­quest to take still pho­tos of Lamb. After ex­plain­ing that de­ci­sion to Lamb, Lamb said he was “not re­ally happy about that.”

“I’ve had enough cov­er­age,” he said.

But de Belle­feuille ex­plained that his crimes were se­ri­ous and that public in­ter­est in the case out­weighed his wish for pri­vacy.

His at­tor­ney, Ken Cirisan, ex­plained to the judge that many let­ters of sup­port have been filed with the court and that his sup­port­ers in the community said the crimes were out of place for Lamb.

“This was an aber­ra­tion,” Cirisan said.

JOE JOHN­STON jjohn­[email protected]­bune­news.com

David Ken­neth Lamb, left, a for­mer Lu­cia Mar school bus driver, stands with his lawyer Ken­neth Cirisan on Mon­day.

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