by: Courtesy photo William Dunlop

The former St. Helens school bus driver accused of sexually abusing a young girl he met while driving her to class pleaded not guilty Sept. 19.

William Dunlop, 68, from Aloha, faces first-degree charges of sex abuse and sodomy.

Oregon State Police spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings said Dunlop met the then-preteen girl on the school bus as he was driving her and other students to class in the late 1990s. He said the alleged crimes occurred away from the job in Washington County. The victim is now 22.

Dunlop worked for the St. Helens School District from 1997 to 2000. The district at the time contracted the Laidlaw transportation company to manage its bus service. The district assists in criminal background checks for bus drivers, but does not hire or manage them. Neither does it maintain driver personnel records.

First Student purchased Laidlaw in 2007 and is the district's current bus service contractor.

First Student staff verified Dunlop had worked for Laidlaw, but said detailed employment records for Dunlop and others who worked for the former company were purged shortly after the purchase.

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