WEST HAVEN — A school bus driver was arraigned Tuesday on charges that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old West Haven High School student multiple times on the bus.
Alan Demand, 51, of Fowler Street in New Haven, assaulted the student “numerous times” and carried on an illegal sexual relationship until the student’s mother reported the assaults to a school resource officer, police said.
Demand was charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault, one count of illegal sexual contact and one count of second-degree unlawful restraint. He is listed in police records as being 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds.
He was arraigned Tuesday afternoon at Superior Court in Milford, where a judge set bond at $75,000. A protective order was issued, barring him from contacting or going near the alleged victim.
According to police, Demand assaulted the student between October and December. He also talked to the student several times on a cellphone and at one point texted a picture — which police described as “sexual” — along with instructions: “Please don’t tell your mom anything else cause I’ll go to Jail.”
Demand worked for Winkle Bus Company.
“We believe that Winkle Bus handled the situation appropriately and quickly, as the bus driver was immediately suspended,” Neil C. Cavallaro, West Haven superintendent of schools, said in a written statement.
“The school also immediately began providing additional support to the student, and that support has been ongoing,” Cavallaro said. “We appreciate the Police Department and school administration’s diligence in this matter, as our students’ safety is our utmost priority.”
Hugh Keefe, who represents the bus company, said Demand has not been fired. The company must presume he is innocent, he said.
Winkle Bus Company has “an excellent safety record and never had a driver charged with anything like this in the past,” Keefe said.
Demand has no recent arrests or convictions on his record, according to judicial branch records.
According to an arrest warrant, the girl told police Demand befriended her at the beginning of her freshman year. They exchanged text messages and she sent him nude pictures of her body, the warrant says.
The girl said that Demand rubbed her leg on the school bus in September while other students were on board, and that she kissed him several times on the bus.
He picked her up at home during his break when she called out sick one day in November and took her to Painter’s Park near the high school, the warrant says. The girl told police that she and Demand stayed on the bus and that he touched her private area, then pinned her down on a bus seat and rubbed his crotch on her, the warrant says. The girl told police she felt uncomfortable and tried getting up, but he wouldn’t let her.
Demand drove her home when his break was over.
The girl’s mother told police she grew suspicious in November when she saw the school bus pull up outside their home and then the girl stay on for 15 to 20 minutes. A neighbor told the girl’s mother she saw the driver fondle the girl, the warrant says.
The mother tried talking to the girl about what the neighbor had witnessed, but the girl became very defensive and denied anything happened, the warrant says. The woman reported what the neighbor had seen to the bus company and Demand was removed from the route, the warrant says.
The girl eventually opened up to her mother in December.
Demand admitted that he and the girl exchanged text messages and that she had sent him nude pictures, the warrant says. He also admitted to touching the girl at Painter’s Park, but denied pinning her down on the seat, it says. Demand said he touched the victim at least three different times, the warrant says.
According to his online resume, Demand also has driven school buses in Bridgeport and North Haven and has been a shuttle driver in New Haven.
He has driven elderly passengers as well as students, the resume says. He has been known to maintain order during trips “in order to ensure safety measures,” it says.
It also says he has “Exceptional Interpersonal Skills.”
Christine Dempsey and Hilda Munoz, Hartford Courant.