PEORIA, Ariz. - Police have arrested a man accused of inappropriately touching a person while working as a bus aide for the Peoria Unified School District.
According to police, 66-year-old Marco Chinchilla was arrested on Feb. 24 for sexual abuse and vulnerable adult abuse.
Investigators say Chinchilla, who had worked for the district since 2017, was on administrative leave on Feb. 17 for not seat belting a passenger on the bus. While the school district was investigating the incident, they discovered Chinchilla allegedly inappropriately touched a passenger on the bus.
The victim is identified as an 18-year-old with Down Syndrome.
"She is a vulnerable adult because of the mental capacity issues that she is struggling with, so in this case, we do treat her as a juvenile," said Sgt. Amanda Gaines with the Peoria Police Department.
He is accused of attempting to cover one of the cameras on the bus before the students got on board, but police say one camera captured Chinchilla inappropriately touching an 18-year-old student during the bus ride.
Chinchilla denied the allegations.
Marco Chinchilla (Peoria Police Department)
District officials immediately notified police.
"The district is grateful for the collaborative and quick actions of the Peoria Police Department to keep our schools and community safe," Peoria Unified said in a statement. "The district is committed to providing the safest possible learning environment and inappropriate conduct by staff is not tolerated."
Chinchilla was arrested and booked into jail.
"Our families and student within the community, we are all affected by this, and it is our responsibility to find all the information we can, and if someone has done something wrong, it is our job to bring them to justice," said Sgt. Gaines.
Meanwhile, many people in a Sun City neighborhood say they are in shock after learning of Chinchilla's arrest
"I knew they were around, but I did not expect it here," said Chene Gilmore. "It's disgusting. The innocent should be protected."
If you have any information about the incident, you're asked to call police at 623-773-8311.
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