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TriMet fires driver acused of abuse

by: Courtesy of MCSO CHRISTOPHER A. PARKER

TriMet has fired a 53-year-old bus driver who was arrested May 3 and charged with abusing a 15-year-old girl.

TriMet officials said Friday afternoon that Christopher Alden Parker was terminated because he had been absent for five days without authorized leave, breaking his 'continuity of service.'

Parker was charged in early May with third-degree sexual abuse, first-degree online sexual corruption of a child and violating a stalking order in connection with the girl.

Parker had been a TriMet bus operator since December 1981. He most recently drove TriMet's 32-Oatfield route, which travels from downtown Portland, through Milwaukie to Clackamas Community College in Oregon City.

Parker has been the focus of a sexual abuse investigation since March 28, when Portland police detectives were alerted to an ongoing relationship between Parker and the girl, whom Parker met on a bus.

Investigators say the relationship began more than a year ago when the girl was 14.

TriMet placed Parker on administrative leave in mid-March pending an internal investigation stemming from concerns raised by a TriMet supervisor regarding violation of a policy related to friends and family riding without a destination and driving off route. During the investigation, TriMet contacted the police to determine if there was any possible criminal wrongdoing.