Teen Girls Molested by Bus Driver; Arrested after Several years in California

Many girls say that a former Desert Hot Springs bus driver abused them when they worked for the Coachella Valley Unified School District many years ago.

An investigation by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department led to the arrest of Jose Luis Moncada, 67, in 2020. All three victims were named “Jane Does” in the criminal case.

Judge Jason Stone of the Superior Court said at the end of a preliminary hearing on Tuesday that there was enough proof to put Moncada on trial for seven counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 years old and for the more serious charge of targeting multiple victims in a sex crime. They dropped one charge of lewd behavior.

Stone set the trial for June 11 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio after the preliminary hearing. He or she is free on a $100,000 loan.

For the Coachella Valley Unified School District, the District Attorney’s Office says that Moncada “inappropriately touched several students while performing his duties as a school bus driver” in 2010.

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Maria Gandera, who was CVUSD Superintendent at the time of Moncada’s arrest, said in a statement that he had been working for the district when the first student made the accusations.

In February 2020, Moncada was in jail while still working. Five months ago, an investigation into the suspect began.

Reports say that in 2021, two anonymous former CVUSD kids who are now adults sued the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs unified school districts for failing to report Moncada’s alleged behavior.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs said that PSUSD ignored a parent’s warning in 2004 that Moncada had abused a 7-year-old child without calling the police.