Okaloosa school bus driver faces molestation charge: Lawmen say Michael Bowersock spanked a 7-year-old girl's bare buttocks when she was the last student on the bus
Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Wendy Victoria, February 5, 2010

Feb. 5--FORT WALTON BEACH -- An Okaloosa County school bus driver accused of spanking a 7-year-old girl's bare buttocks on the bus was arrested Jan. 29 and charged with lewd and lascivious molestation.

It was not the first time Michael Jeffery Bowersock, 27, of Fort Walton Beach, has been accused of a similar act, according to Michael Foxworthy, chief human resources officer for the school district.

"We could find absolutely no proof," he said of another complaint last year. "We looked at cameras and everything."

The girl in the most recent incident told her mother that on more than one occasion when she was the last child on the bus, Bowersock stopped the bus before her stop, pulled down her pants and spanked her with his bare hand, according to his Sheriff 's Office arrest report.

During an interview at the Children's Advocacy Center on Friday, the child said that the incidents "were called spankings but were not forceful like the spankings she received from her parents when she got in trouble," the report said.

The incidents occurred between Oct. 22 and Jan. 28, the Sheriff's Office report said.

Foxworthy said the school district was notified over the weekend and Bowersock was pulled off his bus route and suspended with pay.

"That's all we can do initially," he said. "We'll suspend him without pay at Monday's (School Board) meeting."

He said the district will wait for the case to be decided before it takes any additional action.

Bowersock started driving for the school district in October 2007, according to Foxworthy. His most recent routes were for Elliott Point Elementary, Mary Esther Elementary and Choctaw High. He previously drove for Kenwood Elementary and Longwood Elementary.

Bowersock has had two "previous allegations very similar in nature," according to his arrest report. There was insufficient evidence to charge him in those complaints.

On April 11, 2008, a 6-year-old girl accused Bowersock of lifting up her skirt as he was buckling her seat belt, according to a Sheriff 's Office offense report.

Investigators determined that even if allegations were proven true, no crime had occurred under state statutes, according to the 2008 offense report.

A 5-year-old girl told her parents that Bowersock spanked her on Jan. 23, 2009, according to an offense report. The mother told the Sheriff 's Office, but the exact location and potential witnesses were unknown.

A deputy contacted the state Department of Children and Families, which said it could not take a report because a bus driver is not considered a caregiver.

Bowersock is being held without bond at the Okaloosa County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in court March 2.

Read more: http://dailyme.com/story/2010020500004068/okaloosa-school-bus-driver-faces-molestation.html#ixzz0gTFzd7r

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