School bus driver faces 23 charges after allegedly abusing child on bus

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SALT LAKE CITY – Officials have filed 23 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child as first-degree felonies against a Canyons School District Bus Driver, and a victim is a 5-year-old girl with special needs.

According to a press release from the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office issued Thursday, “it is alleged that John Carrell, while driving a Canyon’s School District school bus, committed aggravated child sexual abuse against a child on the bus.”

Each count carries a maximum punishment of 15 years to life in the Utah State Prison. The original statement from officials indicated the maximum punishment was 25 years to life, but they later corrected that information.  Officials with the District Attorney’s Office thanked the Sandy Police Department and Canyons School District for their assistance in the investigation.

Court documents indicate the alleged abuse occurred between February 20 and April 22. The victim's father told police the man allegedly rubbed the victim's genitals while she rode on Carrell's seat on the bus. Video surveillance from the bus "saw instances of touching from primarily two camera angles."

Court documents detail the testimony of an officer who reviewed surveillance footage from the bus. The documents detail the actions, which appear to follow a particular pattern. In nearly each of the 12 instances, Carrell is observed bypassing the victim to quickly unbuckle the other special needs children on the bus. In nearly each incident Carrell is observed spending significantly longer bent over the victim while unbuckling her, and in a few instances Carrell is observed shifting position to prevent other children from seeing what he was doing with the victim.

In almost all instances, Carrell was observed bringing the child to stand close to his body, often between his legs. Several times he is observed licking his fingers before and after touching the girl inappropriately in the crotch area and on her buttocks. In several instances he is observed shifting the victim's clothing and in one case the victim says "you've been pulling my pants."

In several instances teachers come to the bus to collect other students, and in each case Carrell would move his hands away from the victim, only to resume his activities once the teachers left. In several instances Carrell is observed moving a backpack or taking other measures to prevent other students on the bus from seeing what he was doing with the victim.

Carrell was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on a $3,000,000 bail.

The victim's father said he is glad the man was charged, but he said he wishes things would have gone differently.

"Glad, yeah, so it can't happen anymore to anybody else too," he said. "...I wish I could have caught it sooner, now that I look back there was stuff I should have been more smart about."

Jennifer Toomer-Cook, Canyons School District spokeswoman, said the district is saddened by the situation.

“Word of this has been very difficult on the entire Canyons community, from our students, families, to our teachers, school leaders and our bus drivers,” she said. “We know that now this is in the hands of the justice system and we hope justice can be served.”



  • Trish Ramirez

    Why did these charges take so long to be filed with video evidence of the crimes? Is this man, who was video taped repeatedly abusing a child, still free to walk the streets? What’s wrong with this world when a person caught smoking heroin in their car is shot and killed by police without being charged, let alone tried, but a KNOWN (they have caught the man on video camera, and clearly what they saw was clear and explicit, given the graphic descriptions in this story) child s e x abuser is allowed to walk the streets with impunity pending a trial? Get this filth off of the street.

    • Bob

      I know you smoke heroin in a car. While I’m not an expert in these matters I always thought you shot heroin into a vein.
      And no, Trish, you don’t get shot for “smoking heroin” in your car. You might, however, get shot for trying to run over an arresting officer with your car.

      • Trish Ramirez

        The DA determined that the cops were NOT JUSTIFIED in shooting her. That their explanation of events didn’t fit the forensics. I.e., that they were FULL OF IT. Cops are not supposed to be judges, juries and executioners in this country, yet you defend them behaving as just that. Defending people from the totalitarian behavior of the people who are supposed to be upholding the law yet believe themselves to be above it doesn’t make me a drug user, Bob. It makes me a compassionate person who realizes that if the cops can get away with killing ONE citizen without any kind of due process, they can get away with doing it to anyone.

      • Bob

        The S.L. Co. DA (Sim Gil) has taken this case to the Utah Supreme Court because he can’t get any judges or a secret grand jury that will agree with him. Decent Americans don’t condemn people before they’ve been judged by a jury of their peers. You are a decent American aren’t you Trish? Of course if you were there and witnessed the shooting thats a different story. Were you there Trish, or are you just so biased and full of hate towards police officers that you don’t care about the facts?

      • Trish Ramirez

        Bob, have you ever considered that the reason that Sim Gill can’t get this case properly handled in this State through conventional channels is because of people like YOU? People who take a cops word over physical evidence because they are more interested in protecting the system than protecting the Constitutional rights of American citizens? Your idea of decency and mine don’t jive, apparently. Equally apparent is the fact that you can’t see your own hypocrisy when it’s slapping you in the face. You condemn me for having the audacity to SPEAK OUT against these police officers, who according to a forensic investigation, were unjustified in shooting and killing an unarmed girl while in the same breath advocating for them and demanding that THEY get a fair trial and sentencing before being held accountable for their alleged crimes.

        You are outraged because these cops have not yet been condemned by a jury of their peers, yet you don’t have any outrage over the fact that Danielle Willard was denied the same consideration. You are blathering about grand juries and judges and due process for the cops in this situation while ignoring the fact that their actions ensured that their victim never had the benefit of judges or juries or due process – the cops took it upon themselves to determine that she was guilty and mete out her sentence, and you defend them. Yet you imply that I am indecent for wanting to see them held accountable.

        You are a shining example of what’s wrong in this police state. You believe that cops should be above the law that they are supposed to enforce. You want them to have due process, but you believe that they should have the authority to deny the average citizen due process at their individual discretion.

        That is not how things are supposed to be in this country. Have you ever studied Constitutional law at all? The police were NEVER intended to have the authority that they have now – they were supposed to be a tiny party of the law enforcement process, to ensure that abuses of civil rights as demonstrated in the Danielle Willard case never occur in this supposedly “free” Democratic Republic.

        You have the audacity to imply that I am not decent for demanding that the people responsible for enforcing the law be held to the same standard as the rest of us. Where is the decency in that? These police officers have already been given much, much more consideration and due process than they ever showed Danielle Willard. And in the course of such, the powers that be have determined them to be out of line.

        Yet you still defend them.

        Because you care more about the system than the people.

        When ideas are more important than individuals, the whole thing starts to break down.

    • Bob

      Bus videos are saved but not reviewed unless concerns about a specific event or driver are raised. Do you realize how many buses are on the road each day, and how many hours of video are being recorded? And no they don’t hire the small army of people it would take to sit and review videos all day and all night.

      • Trish Ramirez

        Why must you always make excuses for people in authority, Bob?

        Do you hold a position of authority and feel that any undercutting of any authority figure is a direct blow to the power you feel you have over other individuals?

        If you had been following this case at all, you would know that these videos had been reviewed months ago – perhaps not ALL of them, but enough of them to have seen not just abuse but a pattern of abuse. Weeks ago, parents were notified.

        All of this time in between, the predator who was CAUGHT ON TAPE victimizing a SPECIAL NEEDS KINDERGARTENER has been walking free, and you justify that on some level to yourself.

        Are you really in such need of authority that you cannot comprehend that the people in charge often do things inexplicably wrong?

        Why must you defend their behavior?

  • Anjalique

    Why did it take so long. They had this video for months yet the police chose to push it aside and let the abuse continue. Repulsive, shame on the officers and school district for taking so long

    • Trish Ramirez

      You are absolutely right. This is a travesty. I am so sick and tired of people complaining about the ‘rights’ of s e x offenders. They are the lowest of the low, the scourge of society, and they are treated with kid gloves 9 times out of 10. If the bus driver had been accused of smoking pot on the bus, he would have been terminated immediately and his face splashed all over the media. The handling of these types of cases in this manner needs to stop – they are handled so poorly that it makes victims not want to come forward and protects the interests of the most perverted people imaginable. This has been dragging out for MONTHS, and it was CAUGHT ON TAPE. I hope this family has a good lawyer.

      • Cartman

        You seem to be rather selective about which crimes should be punished and which should not. And I guess the cops are GOOD for arresting him? Usually you complain.

        We should just name you Dictator For Life and stop trying to figure you out.

        The woman who was shot and killed in her car tried to run over a police officer. She was not shot for smoking heroin.

      • Cartman

        By the way, genius: Whom would you have the family sue? If they sue the schools, and win, YOU get to pay for it.

      • Trish Ramirez

        As I’ve said repeatedly, I have no issues with cops enforcing laws under the law. I have an issue with cops believing themselves to be above the law and issuing sentences for who they deem to be criminals when they are supposed to be issuing citations and leaving the more advanced work to professionals with more than 18 months of post-high school education and the credentials to sentence and impose punishment.

        As for Danielle Willard, according to the investigation and DA, the cop’s story in this case didn’t jive with the forensic evidence at hand. They were making things up. Her death was ruled unjustified. Why you and people like you insist upon perpetuating the lie that was told by the officers responsible and found to be untrue is beyond me. They were out of line. They shot an unarmed teenage girl because they could and they knew they could get away with it. Their lies didn’t hold up to forensic evidence, however, and the DA called them on their untruths. Everyone who continues to support their version of events in direct conflict with the physical evidence at the scene needs to have their head examined.

        Additionally, Mr. Anderson, I would much rather see the taxpayer’s money go to families directly hurt by our law enforcements ineptitude and abuse of power than to pay for the salaries of more cops who will be trained to behave just as immorally or for more weapons for the police force to use against the citizens of this state.

      • Trish Ramirez

        Also, I can’t believe that you would allow your dislike of me and my opinions to force you to come to the defense of law enforcement and a child predator. Your need to feel morally superior is clouding your judgement in this case, dude. The cops and this perv were wrong, and any denial of this is a direct slap in the face of a kindergarten victim of egregious abuse. Good for you.

  • Bob

    What people like TRISH RAMIREZ can’t or won’t understand is that it only takes takes a split second to kill him if he let’s down his guard when dealing with pukes as Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride’s widow can testify. What folks like Trish understand but won’t admit is that officers have a split decision to make a life and death decision that may mean the difference between going home to their families alive at the end of their shifts, or being taken to the mortuary.

    Do you have any tears to shed for cory Wride’s widow Trish?

    • Trish Ramirez

      Cops choose their profession and assume the risk. Putting on a badge does not entitle you to be judge, jury and executioner.

      I’m sorry for Officer Wride’s widow’s loss, but Officer Wride made an informed decision when choosing to be a cop – he assumed the risk of his position and chose it anyway. He collected a check for his service, he wasn’t a volunteer, he wasn’t drafted against his will.

      He chose to be a cop and he accepted the inherent risk of his chosen profession.

      The fact that being a cop is inherently riskier than working in an office setting doesn’t mean that cops get to violate the Constitutional rights of American citizens.

      You still fail to see your glaring hypocrisy, Bob. You feel bad for Cory Wride’s widow – a woman who chose to be married to a cop, who had no problem having her lifestyle supported by the paychecks that Officer Wride cashed in exchange for his service and in exchange for assuming the risk of his chosen profession – however you have no sympathy for anyone unjustifiably killed or abused by police officers, despite the fact that these stories of police brutality and abuse of power are becoming more and more common place.

      You believe that because someone chooses to enforce the law in exchange for a pay check, they are somehow above the law of the land that applies to every US citizen.

      It’s a ludicrous stance to take.

      And then in this case, you continue to support the people working in law enforcement, despite the fact that they took their sweet time arresting this known predator – allowing him to walk the street and putting more innocent children at risk. They took their time to build their case despite having video taped evidence of the crimes. You can’t even find fault when the fault is glaringly apparent. What if your child or grandchild had been victimized while this known offender walked the streets? It was an inexcusable delay.

      Your only sympathy is for those in power, which leads me to believe that you see yourself as somebody’s authority figure and as such can only identify with people in power.

  • Bob

    Yes, Trish, peace officers chose their profession, assume the risk, and take pride in saving lives. Just because the assume the risk doesn’t mean they can’t defend themselves when some puke decides to try and kill them. Unfortunately for criminals peace offficers are certified to use deadly force. Your typical bleeding heart liberal crys when a drug deal gets shot but has no sympathy for the widow of a murdered peace officer.

    Don’t like it? Tough.

    Peace officers: One
    Danielle Willard: Zero

  • Trish Ramirez

    The Gestapo and SS had legal permission from their superiors to kill with impunity.

    That didn’t stop them from being tried and executed from crimes against humanity when they were held accountable by people with some sanity and respect for human life.

    And I’m sure their widows cried and grieved when they paid the price for just doing what they were allowed to do.

    The fact that some ignorant, backwards Utah legislator has given these cops the temporary authority to kill with being punished for it this week or this year certainly doesn’t mean they won’t someday have to pay the price for ‘just doing their job.’

    Our Constitution does not allow police to have the kind of authority and power they have been so readily given, and when things are finally brought to right in this country, these people who would kill American citizens without just cause or due process will certainly be the first to be held accountable for abusing their power.

    • Bob

      TRISH RAMIREZ is correct. Peace officers accept the fact that there are risks associated with dealing with pukes and criminals who place no value in human life. That’s they go to the police academy to learn how to deal with those risks.

      The use of deadly force may be used any time an officer believes his life or the life of another is in jeopardy.
      Don’t want to get shot by a peace officer Trish? May i suggest you behave yourself, don’t try to run over them, don’t pull a gun on them, and I’d guess you’d probably have a better that a 50% chance of seeing the sun come up tomorrow.

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