School bus driver accused of soliciting minors

Published 06/05 2013 10:07PM

Updated 06/06 2013 11:52AM

TAYLORVILLE -- A Christian County school bus driver is accused of luring teens online to have sex with them. 43-year old James Owens was arrested and charged with a class 3 felony of indecent solicitation of a minor. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels has reaction from the community.

"He was a volunteer firefighter for the Owaneco Fire Department. He also portrays himself as being a minister."

But, now Owens is in custody. Police say he used Facebook to talk to teens online and lure them in.

"He portrays himself as a person in a position of trust to these young men so he can meet with them and eventually have sex with these men."

Owens has lived in nearly 30-different places the past decade. He's been in this area less than a year. So far, two 16-year old victims have come forward, but police don't think it will stop there.

"I believe there are more victims out there."

It has parents in this community worried about their kids.

"It's scary to think you send your kid off to school where you think that's the safest place for them and sometimes it's not."

"It makes me a little worried that he was able to pass a background check to drive a school bus."

Tess Howard graduated Taylorville High School last year. She says she's never seen Owens before.

"It's scary to think about. It makes me wonder if anything was ever going on, you know, if anything ever happened, that never got found out about."

His arrest makes her think twice about safety.

"If I live here when I grow up, it makes me second-guess putting my kids on a bus."

One of the victims says Owens molested him at least five times, but so far, police aren't sure if any of the crimes happened while he was working for the bus company.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers.

Christian County Crime Stoppers
(800) 568 - TIPS
(217) 824 - 9100
Text to: CRIMES, keyword: cccs, then tell us your tip

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