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Oxnard bus driver is accused of raping passenger

October 18, 2007|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

Ventura County sheriff's officials are seeking the public's help in locating other alleged victims of a bus driver accused of raping an 18-year-old woman passenger last week.

James Banks, 24, was arrested Monday on suspicion of forcible rape and anal and genital penetration by a foreign object. Banks, of Oxnard, remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Banks is accused of driving the woman from a Ventura Intercity Service Transit Authority bus stop in Camarillo to the Ventura area about 9:30 p.m. Friday, authorities said.

Banks allegedly drove the bus to the Ventura County Government Center in Ventura, parked at a bus loop and assaulted the woman. Investigators said Banks then let the alleged victim off the bus. The woman, who filed a report with law enforcement authorities, was examined at a hospital and released.

Banks is employed by a contractor, Coach America, that supplies drivers to the Ventura County Transportation Commission. He has been working in Ventura County since January and had no criminal history at the time of his employment, a company official said.

Dave Dwight, general manager of Coach America in Los Angeles, said Banks remains on unpaid leave.

"If the accusations prove to be true, this is obviously a very deplorable act. It would not only be a violation of company policy, but also California law," Dwight said. "We're cooperating in every way, and we've provided [investigators] with any information that they've needed. . . . Basically, it now becomes a 'wait and see' " situation.

Authorities asked that anyone with information about Banks, or about other possible victims, call detectives at (805) 477-7000.

greg.griggs@latimes.com

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