Wagoner Superintendent Responds To Former Bus Driver's Arrest For Sex Abuse

Tuesday, April 22nd 2014, 12:41 pm
By: News On 6

Erin Jones, News On 6

WAGONER, Oklahoma -- Wagoner students returned to school Tuesday as an investigation continues into alleged child sexual abuse by a former bus driver. Shocked is the word that best describes the district's reaction to the investigation.

Robert Allen Searl, 45, was arrested Monday on two complaints of child sexual abuse and one of lewd acts/proposals to a minor child, according to Sheriff Bob Colbert, Wagoner County.

Searl made contact with the kids during his job as a bus driver then lured them to his Wagoner County home, Colbert said. The sheriff says the complaints involve three victims between the ages of 8 and 12 years old.

4/21/2014 Related Story: Wagoner County Man, Former Bus Driver, Arrested For Child Sexual Abuse

Wagoner School Superintendent Monte Thompson said the district ran a background check when Searl was first hired in 2009 and that the check came back clear. Searl worked for the district four years before resigning in 2012 to pursue another job.

Thompson said he's surprised by the accusations and that Searl had a good reputation in the community.

"It could be parents, or business owners or whatever," he said. "When someone is involved with something as ugly as messing with a child sexually, then it is disturbing."

The school district remains the safest place for kids in most cases, Thompson said.

The Sheriff's Office continues to look into the claims of the victims and says more charges could be coming. They believe there may be as many as six more victims.