Polk school bus driver ordered held without bond

- The Polk County school bus driver charged with molesting four children on his bus, preyed on the most vulnerable kids, Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference Monday.

This was the sheriff's first chance to disuss the case; he was away last week when deputies arrested Carlos Ojeda, 72, and charged him with ten counts of sexual battery on a child.

"It makes your blood boil. There's no other way to descibe it. The conduct was so reprehensible," the sheriff said.

Investigators said Ojeda used candy to tease and lure the children to him before inappropriately touching them.

Judd said he watched the bus surveillance video and was disgusted.

"This is one of the more horrific cases that we've ever seen," he said. "He's teasing her and taunting her and getting her to come up to him with candy."

The sheriff also gave more details about the driver's alleged victims; three of them were four years old, while the fourth was nine. All are children with special needs and have trouble communicating.

Deputies said the crimes first came to light earlier this month, when two boys on one Ojeda's buses were referred by the driver to the principal's office for cursing.

That's when the boys, who had witnessed the molestation, revealed what they'd seen.

"I want to talk to you young boys and thank you for what you did, it was the right thing," Judd said. "Boy did he get a referral. We've got him referred on 10 counts of capital sexual battery. Our goal is that he spends the rest of his life in prison because that's the worst that the law will allow us to do him."

Judd said, as detectives interviewed Ojeda, the driver confessed to the crimes caught on camera and told investigators about two additional victims -- one last year and another the year before that.

The sheriff expects the number of victims to climb.

"I was born in the morning, but it wasn't yesterday. He didn't decide at 72 years of age to start now.  We're confident there must be other vicims," he said.

Judd added there is no statute of limitations on capital sexual battery, so victims can still come forward no matter how long ago the crime occurred.

The sheriff's news conference came shortly after Ojeda appeared before a judge, who ordered him held in jail without bond.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Polk school bus driver ordered held without bond
  • Family of seven pups found stuffed in small crate, abandoned on side of road
  • Toddler found in North Port canal dies despite life-saving measures
  • Report: 15,000 electric cars will call Tampa home by 2030
  • Deputies find missing Plant City infant
  • Pasco deputies say warn of increase in online extortion
  • Winter Haven officer-involved shooting injures man
  • Seagull rescued after getting stuck in a vehicle's grill
  • Officials urging parents to be vigilant as hot car deaths rise
  • Purse-snatching victim dragged by suspect's car in Walmart parking lot, police say