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Bus Driver in Irvine Charged With Rape

March 19, 2005|Rachana Rathi | Times Staff Writer

A 26-year-old bus driver was charged Friday with three counts of statutory rape for allegedly impregnating a 16-year-old high school student he met while on his route for the Irvine Unified School District, authorities said.

The girl told police that Carlos Alberto Mendez, a married father of three, got her phone number and asked her out on a date last year. The two had numerous sexual encounters between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, prosecutors allege.

The girl's parents learned of the relationship after she became pregnant, and called police in February, officials said. Mendez was arrested Thursday.

"The defendant is a predator who preyed on a 16-year-old girl and had unlawful sexual contact with her on a number of occasions," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Duke. "In this case, there does happen to be [an unborn] child as a result of this illegal contact."

Mendez, who has been suspended from his job at Laidlaw Transit Services Inc., is being held in Orange County Jail on $20,000 bail. He could face four years and four months in prison if convicted on all three felonies.

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