NBC News reported a bus driver in Long Island has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of kidnapping and raping a female student passenger. The accused, Giovanny Campos, 50, also known as Giovanny Guzman, allegedly sexually assaulted the student from Valley Stream repeatedly between January and July.
Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced the charges on Monday. The indictment includes second-degree kidnapping, third-degree rape, two counts of a third-degree criminal sex act, and reckless endangerment. The alleged sexual abuse took place both on the bus and at Campos' apartment in Queens.
During Campos' court appearance on Thursday, he pleaded not guilty. The court set his bail at $150,000 cash, $300,000 bond, and $1.25 million partially secured bond. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
Donnelly expressed her dismay, saying, "School bus drivers are trusted to transport and protect our children, but this defendant allegedly preyed on a teenage student and sexually abused her both on his bus and at his apartment in Queens."
Campos, who drove a route from Central High School to North High School in Valley Stream, was employed by the Cheese Bus company located at 228-01 Merrick Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11413. The distance covered by his route was approximately 3 miles. The accused reportedly assaulted the student multiple times, including in a parking lot while still on the bus. He also transported the teenager to his apartment in Jamaica, Queens, where further sexual acts allegedly occurred.
Cheese Bus, Inc., through its attorney, released a statement in response to the charges, stating that Campos has been terminated from employment. The statement read, "This individual is no longer employed by Cheese Bus, Inc. The instant our office was made aware of the District Attorney's allegations, we removed the individual in question from all bus routes and from any contact with our passengers as we are committed to maintaining safety and security within our community."
The Cheese Bus company expressed its cooperation with local law enforcement and its willingness to provide further assistance if required.
Campos was arrested on September 28, 2023, by the Nassau County Police's Special Victims Squad. The Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, which represents Campos, has not issued any comments as of now.
In the wake of a disturbing incident involving a bus driver indicted for kidnapping and raping a student passenger, the conversation on seeking justice for survivors gains urgency. In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Laurence Banville, a renowned sexual assault attorney and local New York-based child abuse lawyer. Together, we delve into the legal avenues available to survivors and their families, particularly through civil lawsuits against negligent schools and transportation companies. Join us as we explore the importance of holding accountable those responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of our children.
Editor Darla Medina (DM): Welcome, Mr. Banville.
Laurence Banville (LB): Thank you, Darla. It's a pleasure to be here and shed light on an important topic that affects many survivors and their families.
DM: Absolutely. With this heartbreaking case, many may wonder about the legal options available to victims and their families. Can you explain how civil lawsuits can play a role in seeking justice?
LB: Certainly, Darla. Civil lawsuits provide an avenue for survivors and their families to hold accountable not only the perpetrator but also those entities or individuals who may have been negligent in their duty to protect the victim. In cases involving schools and transportation companies, they have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of students entrusted to their care.
DM: That's crucial. Could you elaborate on how these civil lawsuits work and what survivors and their families can expect from the legal process?
LB: Of course. When pursuing a civil lawsuit, survivors and their families can seek compensation for various damages, including physical and emotional pain, medical expenses, therapy costs, and other related losses. They can file a lawsuit against the school, the transportation company, or any other party whose negligence may have contributed to the incident.
DM: That's essential information. What advice do you have for survivors and their families who may be considering taking legal action?
LB: First and foremost, it's important for survivors and their families to prioritize their well-being and seek necessary support, such as counseling or therapy. They should then consult with an experienced sexual assault attorney who specializes in child abuse cases. An attorney can guide them through the legal process, advocating for their rights and helping them pursue justice in the most effective way possible.
DM: Thank you for highlighting those important steps, Mr. Banville. Lastly, what message would you like to share with sexual abuse survivors and their families?
LB: To the survivors and their families, I want to emphasize that you are not alone in this journey. There is support available, and justice can be pursued. By speaking up and taking legal action, you not only seek justice for yourselves but also contribute to greater accountability within institutions responsible for the safety of our children.
DM: Thank you, Mr. Banville, for your valuable insights and guidance on this important topic. We appreciate your time and expertise.
LB: It was my pleasure, Darla. Thank you for shedding light on this vital issue and providing a platform for discussion.