A 62-year-old Roseburg man who drove a bus for Roseburg Public Schools was arrested Friday on multiple sexual abuse charges involving a minor, according to local officials.
In August, detectives from the Roseburg Police Department were contacted by an out-of-state law enforcement agency about a sexual abuse case involving Lawrence Walter Jackson. According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the Douglas County Circuit Court, Jackson began subjecting his victim — a young girl — to sexual contact beginning in 2016 and had a history of grooming her.
Police said grooming behavior is considered “both verbal and physical behavior used, over time, to condition victims to perform or otherwise submit to unwanted sexual contact and behavior,” according to court documents.
In an interview with police, Jackson said he wanted to “take it upon himself to teach (the victim) sexual education,” which he believed would benefit her in the future and help her live a better life.
Jackson was lodged at the Douglas County Jail and later arraigned on three counts of first-degree sexual abuse. The victim, who was a teenager when she reported the abuse, was known to the suspect, according to police.
First-degree sexual abuse is a Measure 11 crime that holds a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 75 months upon conviction.
Roseburg Public Schools, in a prepared statement sent out by Douglas Education Service District spokesperson Chelsea Duncan, said it could not comment on Jackson’s employment, but assured the public that he would no longer be driving Roseburg students.
“Roseburg Public Schools is deeply disturbed by the allegations against one of First Student’s bus drivers,” the statement read. “The Roseburg Public Schools and First Student will fully cooperate with the Roseburg Police Department to assist the investigation in any way possible. The school district contracts with First Student for bus services, and as the driver’s employer, First Student, will be handling any internal investigations. The district cannot comment on Mr. Jackson’s employment status, but he will no longer be driving Roseburg students. We would like to thank the Roseburg Police Department for their ongoing support of our district.”
Chris Kemper, a spokesperson for First Student, said the company was unable to make detailed comment on the active investigation but released a statement.
“At First Student, the safe and reliable transportation of our student passengers is our highest priority. Once we became aware of the charges against Mr. Jackson, we immediately removed him from service and contacted Roseburg Public Schools and the Winston-Dillard School District. We have also made ourselves available to authorities to support their investigation in any way needed. Given that this is an active investigation, we are unable to comment further.”