FEDERAL WAY — A church bus driver has been arrested on charges of child molestation for allegedly groping a 6-year-old girl on the vehicle.
Bethel Christian Church Daycare sent a letter home to parents a few days ago to let them know that the staff member had been put on administrative leave.
“We are very worried about it,” said one mother.
According to court documents, bus driver Oscar Raul Lopez, 57, was arrested after the young girl told authorities that Lopez had reached inside her clothing and was “inappropriate,” when he was supposed to be driving her from day care to school. She told investigators he had touched her several times over the last month and also told her she was beautiful.
Lopez has been driving the bus for the church for several years, and is well-known to many of the children as “Mr. Oscar.”
“It’s kind of disappointing that he did that,” said Ivy Luong, a student at the school.
Lopez lives with his family on church grounds. A neighbor saw his arrest last week.
“This is just shocking,” said Mara Macin. “To see what his family is going through, to see what his kids are going through, it’s just horrible. We personally do not think it’s true. We pray to God that it’s not true.”
A spokesman for the church said he could not comment on the case because it is an open investigation. Prosecutors say they are looking into Lopez’s contact with other children during his employment, and are concerned he could commit a similar offense if released. But those who know him disagree.
“He is too kind of a man,” said Macin. “We’ve known him for a while; we don’t think he’s capable of him doing anything like that.”
Lopez is being held in the King County Jail on $250,000 bail.