Trial of Two Harbors school bus driver delayed until NovemberA former North Shore Community School bus driver accused of sexually assaulting five preteen girls has declined an undisclosed plea agreement offered by the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office and the case has been rescheduled for trial.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
A former North Shore Community School bus driver accused of sexually assaulting five preteen girls has declined an undisclosed plea agreement offered by the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office and the case has been rescheduled for trial.
Jimmy Jerome James, 63, of Two Harbors is charged with five counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly molesting five students between the ages of 6 and 10 between December 2009 and April 2010.
A trial had been scheduled to start next Tuesday, but has been rescheduled for Nov. 15.
St. Louis County prosecutor Nathaniel Stumme said part of the reason for the delay is “because a critical state witness is unavailable for medical reasons.” He declined to publicly elaborate.
Defense attorney Joanna Wiegert of Cloquet is representing James and couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Wiegert has said that James is innocent.
He’s free on $100,000 bond.
James faces a guideline sentence of between 7½ years and nine years in prison if convicted.
The allegations were made in March and April of last year. The alleged victims were interviewed at the First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center in Duluth. The complaint says one girl told an interviewer that the bus driver let kids sit on his lap so they could open the bus door. She said James touched her in a way that made her feel sick and that she knew several other girls who were touched in the same way. She provided the names of six female students.