- Associated Press - Friday, February 21, 2020

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A former Connecticut school bus driver has pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a 13-year-old girl he was responsible for transporting to and from school, prosecutors said.

Jose Manuel Santos, 36, of Bridgeport, pleaded guilty Thursday to enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut said in a statement.

Santos was responsible for driving buses and vans carrying children to a middle school in Wallingford, authorities said.

Authorities started investigating in October 2018. Investigators say they found more than 200 text messages or calls between Santos and the girl on her cellphone, including a sexually explicit photo of Santos that he sent her, and multiple requests from Santos for a sexually explicit photo of the girl.

After he was arrested, Santos communicated with others in an attempt to prevent the girl from testifying against him, prosecutors said.

Santos faces a minimum of 10 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for May 21.

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