Community weighs in after Long County bus driver charged with child molestation

Long County bus driver charged with child molestation

LONG COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A Long County bus driver is in jail after being arrested Monday on multiple charges involving children.

James “Andy" Linson is charged with enticing a child for indecent purposes, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, sexual assault by persons with supervisory authority, and tampering with evidence.

A Long County deputy brought Linson from being held in the Liberty County Jail for his initial hearing Tuesday afternoon, where a magistrate judge denied bond.

Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles says this case developed when a parent came forward with troubling claims. He says a parent of the victim contacted his office earlier this month about an incident they claim happened earlier this year during the last school year. The sheriff says they started investigating the case and scheduled an interview with Linson, and arrested him then. Sheriff Nobles says they don’t take accusations like this lightly.

“We’re going to investigate it. We’re going to do a thorough investigation. We’re going to do interviews. We’re going to research and talk to witnesses,” he said.

Sheriff Nobles says the tampering with evidence charge stems from something Linson’s accused of doing over the weekend before his arrest on Monday.

“He went on the bus around 6 a.m. There’s video of him going onto the bus and he retrieved the video from the bus camera and erased it,” Sheriff Nobles said.

People we spoke to in the community say they want to believe ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ but the accusations give them plenty of concern. Some parents say it strikes them where they’re most vulnerable.

“You put your trust in these bus drivers and the teachers of the school system,” said Laura Williams, Ludowici.

Community weighs in after Long County bus driver charged with child molestation

School superintendent David Edwards declined the chance to address the case on camera. He told WTOC over the phone that the district had fired Linson in the wake of his arrest. Edwards says student safety is something they stress, and they are cooperating with the sheriff’s office investigation. Parents say cases like this are one reason they keep communication lines open with their kids.

“If anything went on strange, I have that communication with them where they could say, ‘I don’t like how he looks at me,' or something like that,” said Latasha Middleton, Ludowici.

Edwards says they’ll look at their bus policies to see if they can do anything further to prevent something like this. Community members already have ideas.

“I really do think they need a monitor on the bus, you know? Not just to watch the bus driver, but the kids as well; just because you need that extra protection,” said Alexis Wunderlich, Ludowici.

Currently, they only have monitors riding the buses for special education students.

A deputy returned Linson to the Liberty County Jail after the hearing. His next step will be requesting a bond hearing in superior court.

WTOC will continue to follow this case and update you on any developments.

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