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Bus driver accused of sexually assaulting special needs student

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Alan Demand was arrested for sexually assaulting a student on his school bus, according to police. (West Haven police photo) Alan Demand was arrested for sexually assaulting a student on his school bus, according to police. (West Haven police photo)
WEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

A school bus driver in West Haven was arrested for sexually assaulting a special needs student on his bus for months.

Alan Demand, 51, was arrested Monday after an investigation by the Special Victims Unit, according to detectives. He was expected to face a judge Tuesday afternoon.

According to police, Demand befriended an unidentified 15-year-old, who was in a special needs program at the beginning of the school year, and he got her number by asking her to call his cell because he was having phone problems. 

The inappropriate behavior started in September when police said he started rubbing her legs on the bus. Over several months, it escalated to him sexually touching her on the school bus, which he parked in out-of-the way areas.

"A witness actually saw that, there was a single child on the bus," said West Haven police Sgt David Tammaro. "The child didn't look comfortable, notified the police department. The police department got involved at the same time that's when this child walked in and spoke to a school resource officer."

Investigators said Demand was also accused of continuing to have an illegal sexual relationship with the student until the student reported the assaults to a school resource officer.

"This child felt comfortable coming to a police officer, assigned to the schools and explained she was a victim of a sexual assault. That's invaluable," Tammaro said.

Detectives said Demand had a number of cell phone and text message conversations with the victim that included sexual pictures. They said at one point, he even told the victim "Please don't tell your mom anything else 'cause I'll go to jail."

Demand was immediately suspended from the Winkle Bus Company after officials learned of the allegations.

"We have an excellent safety record, and we have never had an allegation like this against one of our drivers," the Winkle Bus Company said in a statement.

The company also said Demand passed all of its background checks.

West Haven Superintendent Neil C. Cavallaro released a statement about the arrest.

"The school district has been working with the Police Department and Winkle Bus regarding this incident since it was brought to our attention. We believe that Winkle Bus handled the situation appropriately and quickly, as the bus driver was immediately suspended. The school also immediately began providing additional support to the student, and that support has been ongoing. We appreciate the police department and school administration's diligence in this matter, as our students' safety is our utmost priority."

Police said they charged him with two counts of second-degree sexual assault, illegal sexual contact and unlawful restraint.

Demand was arraigned on Tuesday where Eyewitness News learned he was never arrested.

Eyewitness News reached out to Demand's family, but has not heard back.

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