Updated: July 8, 2016
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – A former Prairie Hill bus driver found guilty of sexual abuse of two young victims will spend the next five years in prison.
70-year-old Peter Sanchez will also receive two years of mandatory supervised release. Investigators say the inappropriate acts happened with at least two victims under the age of 17 while Sanchez was a driver for the Prairie Hill school district in Northern Winnebago County.
Both cases happened between April and May of 2014 in South Beloit. Sanchez will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Updated: April 14, 2016
UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A former Prairie Hill bus driver accused of inappropriate contact with two young victims is found guilty on two counts of criminal sexual abuse. It took less than an hour for the jury to make their decision.
Police say the inappropriate acts happened with at least two victims under the age of 17 while Sanchez was a driver for the Prairie Hill School District.
Both cases happened between April and May of 2014 in South Beloit. Each count carries three to seven years prison time.
UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Opening statements begin for a former Prairie Hill School District bus driver accused of sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl.
Police say Peter Sanchez had inappropriate contact with at least two victims under the age of 17 while on the job between April and May of 2014 in South Beloit.
Right now, he faces five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. If convicted, he could face jail time or probation.
June 10, 2014
WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) – Two very young students in Winnebago County may have been the victims of sexual abuse by their bus driver.
The Winnebago County State’s Attorney has charged 68-year-old Peter Sanchez with 5 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Investigators say he made inappropriate contact with two five-year-olds who rode his bus. Investigators believe this happened between late April and mid May of 2014. Sanchez worked for First Student, the company hired by the Prairie Hill School District to drive kids. The Prairie Hill Schools Superintendent says the company had told him that Sanchez had been driving for them for 15 years but had been working in Prairie Hill just for the last few months as a day to day driver. He adds, the girls’ parents reported the possible abuse to them the Monday after Memorial Day weekend.
“I want to urge our parents that day in and day out our students are in the care of some spectacular bus drivers and teachers,” said the Prairie Hill School District Superintendent Ted Rehl.
A rep from First Student says before anyone gets hired to drive for them, they check a person's criminal and driving history. They also do regular re-checks. A search of Winnebago County Court records shows Sanchez only had one traffic ticket in the last decade. First Students say Sanchez no longer works for them.
Investigators say Sanchez was on a planned trip to Puerto Rico when he was arrested. He was in court there on Tuesday to face extradition back to Winnebago County. He faces 35 years in prison if found guilty.
June 10, 2014
UPDATE: A former bus driver for the Prairie Hill School District in South Beloit has been charged with 5 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
68-year-old Peter Sanchez was arrested Monday for allegedly abusing at least 2 kids under 17 while he was working for the Prairie Hill School District.
We will continue to update you as we learn more.
May 28, 2014
WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) – A school bus driver is suspected of sexual abuse while taking kids to an elementary school in South Beloit.
The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department says it’s now stepping in to investigate the alleged abuse of a little girl this week on the way to Prairie Hill School. Police say no arrests have been made yet. School authorities and DCFS have been made aware of the investigation.