Former SBCSC bus driver found guilty on child seduction felony charges
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It took a jury less than one hour to decide 33-year-old Monisha Simpson is guilty of two counts of child seduction charges. The mother of three was on trial for allegations that she developed a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student on her bus route in the summer of 2011.
The two day trial wrapped up around 4:20 p.m. Friday and Cara Brook, a deputy prosecutor with the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office and defense attorney Mike Tuszynski had 25 minutes each to present their closing arguments. The case was in the jury's hands a few minutes after 5 p.m. and by 6 p.m. the announcement was made a verdict had been reached.
The verdict was guilty on both counts of Class D Felony child seduction.
Today defense attorney Mike Tuszynski called his own client to the stand to testify about her relationship with the 16-year-old student she met during the summer of 2011. Simpson said that she met the student while driving Clay High School football students back and forth to and from their homes and the football field. She stated that the boy lied to her and told her he was 18-years-old. Something he admitted to the day before when he was on the stand.
She claimed she felt sorry for him when he told her his relationship with his current foster parents were challenging. She claimed that he asked her if he could spend more time with her young son who she said he got to know while riding her bus for one week. She claimed that she never transported the student to her home on Taylor Street via her school bus. However she did admit she allowed the boy to hang out with her son at her house on three different occasions.
Also while under oath Simpson stated that she did not have a sexual relationship what so ever with the student. She admitted he did try to kiss her once while he was at her house and she cooked dinner for him and her three children. However, she insisted she push him away and told him that was inappropriate and she dropped him off at his foster families home shortly afterwords.
Mike Nolan, the SBCSC Safety and Operations Manager testified that bus drivers are not allowed to have their own children ride the bus with them while they are on their routes. He also said employees are not allowed to have contact with students outside of school for non school related activities. All things Simpson admitted to doing.
Mike Tuszynski told the jury that his client is guilty of breaking the school's rules but she didn't engage in sexual relations as the state is alleging. However the jury decided there was enough evidence to find Monisha Simpson guilty on two counts of child seduction charges.
A sentencing date has not been set yet. However Simpson could face anywhere between six months of jail time to up to three years per each count.