Kamloops school bus driver fired for relationship with teen student
A Kamloops school-bus driver has been fired for breach of trust after allowing a 15-year-old student to spend nights at his house — and now the 59-year-old is fighting in court to keep in contact with the teen.
Two weeks ago, Merv Hanson was named on a protective intervention order issued by the Ministry of Children and Family Development barring him from having contact with the teen, who had been a regular passenger on his Sahali bus route.
In court today (June 13), the one-time Kamloops city council hopeful sought a judge's approval to have the order overturned.
Court heard testimony from social worker Dean Moore, who said he became involved in the situation on Feb. 24, 2012.
"They [the girl's parents] were concerned with Mr. Hanson's relationship with their daughter," he said.
"The concern was that their daughter had met Mr. Hanson on the school bus, and she started to spend more and more time with him."
Moore said the girl told him she was visiting Hanson for music lessons, which took place at Hanson's house.
"I asked her about the music lessons and how long they are," he said.
"She said sometimes they're eight hours long. I was shocked that the lessons were that long."
The girl also admitted to Moore that she'd spent the night at Hanson's house.
"At one point I asked if she was involved in a sex relationship with Mr. Hanson," Moore testified.
"She said no, she wasn't."
However, Moore said, information recently provided to investigators by the girl's family — specifically a text message from one of her friends — suggests otherwise.
Moore said he spoke with RCMP and officials from the Kamloops-Thompson school district.
Court heard the district's report on Hanson was completed on March 2.
According to Moore, the girl said she felt neglected by her father. But, he stressed, no allegations of abuse were made by her regarding her family.
Moore also said the girl's parents contacted Hanson prior to the involvement of the authorities, asking him to stop having contact with their daughter.
"I don't think he agreed to stop," he said.
Moore said social workers have been combing through old files of Hanson's in recent weeks, and have made some troubling finds.
Though he was never charged criminally, court heard, Hanson was investigated by Kamloops Mounties in 2009 after his step-daughter accused him of sexual assault.
A police report from the time, read in to court by Moore, stated Hanson had attempted to sexually assault his then-17-year-old step-daughter as she slept.
When she woke up and rebuffed Hanson's advances, court heard, the incident became physical.
Moore said Hanson eventually broke down his step-daughter's bedroom door and began striking her.
Court heard the step-daughter also told police Hanson had suggested on multiple occasions the two should get married.
RCMP abandoned their investigation, Moore said, when the step-daughter moved away from Kamloops.
Kamloops-Thompson school district superintendent Terry Sullivan said he couldn't talk about Hanson's file, but confirmed "the person with that name is no longer employed by the district."
Sullivan said the district has no code of conduct policy in place for bus drivers.
"We couldn't possibly list all the behaviours," he said.
"What we do is if somebody alleges that a behaviour is inappropriate we would investigate, and what action we took would be based on what was uncovered in the course of our investigation."
In an interview with KTW, Hanson said no sexual allegations had been made with respect to the 15-year-old student. He said she stayed at his house for about four nights.
He did, however, say he's previously been accused of sexual misconduct with a youth. He would not go into detail.
In court today, the 15-year-old girl sat with Hanson throughout the proceedings. When court took a break, Hanson asked the judge if the girl could go with him for lunch.
The judge said no.
Hanson ran unsuccessfully for a spot on Kamloops city council in 2008. At the time, he told KTW he volunteers extensively with youth.
The hearing in Kamloops provincial court did not conclude today.
A date has yet to be set for continuation.
Both Hanson and the 15-year-old girl are expected to take the stand.
She is currently in foster care, refusing to go home to her family.
Check kamloopsthisweek.com for updates.