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School bus driver resigns after news of dating teen

William Steffen William Steffen

By Connie Leonard - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Jefferson County Public Schools bus driver could be facing charges after what school officials say was an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old student. Police are investigating after 30-year-old William Steffen was found with the girl at a local park. Steffen resigned this week, but his fate could depend on the interpretation of a state law.

When Steffen was found with the girl, he wasn't arrested because the girl was 17. But if it is deemed a bus driver is an authority figure, Steffen could be in some serious legal trouble.

Students at Seneca High say the bus driver is a hot topic at school. 

"Nobody knew about it until he got suspended," said Jordann Ligon, a Seneca student. "She [the student] was in a relationship with an older man and it was the bus driver and I was kind of like creeped out about it."

JCPS officials weren't happy either after hearing Louisville Metro Police found Steffen with a 17-year old Seneca student at 3 a.m. Feb. 12 in a car at a Highlands park.

"We're very disgusted and very disappointed," said JCPS transportation Director Rick Caple.

Steffen was suspended by JCPS on Feb. 14. He resigned the next day. According to Caple, Steffen had worked as a bus driver for a couple of years with no past problems and a clean background check. That's why Caple says it was hard to hear that Steffen admitted he had a relationship with the student for weeks. 

"They had gone to movies and they had gone to meet in the neighborhood where she lived and they had gone out to eat so this was not the first time this had occurred, unfortunately," said Caple.

When asked if the two were dating, Caple replied, "I guess you could call it that, I'm not sure what you call a 30-year-old and a 17-year-old - I call it disgusting myself."

While the age of consent in Kentucky is 16, police say there is a possibility Steffen could be charged under a Kentucky law that went into effect a few years ago that extends the age to 18 if the adult is an authority figure, like a teacher or principal. Police tell us a bus driver could fit into that criteria since he is in charge of the children.

"I think it's kind of creepy and weird that an old man would want a girl," said Seneca student Rayne Mitchem.

Caple says the news is especially hard on many of the system's 1,100 drivers who care about the kids and try to do their best for them every day. 

"I would say 99.9 percent of our drivers are highly disappointed and really disgusted that one of our employees would do this," Caple said.

It's also been hard for the girl's mother.

"She was upset," said Caple. "I would have been too if I was the parent, I would have been highly upset."

LMPD will only tell us they are investigating and may file charges.

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