A former school bus driver was found guilty Thursday of committing a lewd act upon a child, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office announced.
David Perez, 62, was arrested in February 2020 when he arrived to work at a Pleasant Valley School District property, officials said. The arrest was made prior to the arrival of any students at the facility.
Perez was originally booked on suspicion of committing lewd acts on a minor and child molestation, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
The school district was notified of the arrest and had placed Perez on leave.
“The victim was not a student of Pleasant Valley School District and she was not associated with his employment as a bus driver,” Sgt. Ryan Clark of the Sheriff’s Office said at the time of the arrest. “At this time, there is no information suggesting that he attempted to victimize any children he met in association with his job.”
Between September 2019 and February 2020, Perez is accused of using social media to contact a 15-year-old girl and professing his love for her. He also requested that she kiss and hug him, and arranged meetings with her, which occurred during his work as a school bus driver.
During one such meeting, “Perez embraced the victim, rubbed her hands in a sensual manner, touched her thigh, and attempted to kiss her on the lips,” the DA’s office said.
In February 2020, the social media messages were discovered and reported, officials said. Information on who found and reported the messages was not available.
The Sheriff’s Office was notified and launched an investigation, which involved electronic forensics, extensive witness interviews and analysis of social media records.
“The investigation ultimately confirmed the nature and extent of Perez’s contact with the child victim,” the DA’s news release states.
Perez is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15. He faces a maximum of one year in county jail, according to the DA’s office.