The defense attorney for a longtime San Francisco school bus driver who has been accused of molesting special-needs students claims weak evidence has led to a public smear campaign against his client.
Roberto Marty was a contract driver for school buses serving the San Francisco Unified School District for about 18 years. He was yanked from his duties in April following allegations that he had molested an 11-year-old girl passenger, police said.
The charge prompted police to reopen a similar 2004 case against Marty involving another 11-year-old special-needs student, police Officer Albie Esparza said.
At the time, police concluded the earlier allegation was unfounded, according to the school district and bus company. On Wednesday, a judge ruled there was enough evidence to put Marty on trial for both alleged crimes.
A day later, San Francisco cops released a public notice calling on other potential victims of Marty to come forward.
Defense attorney Jai Gohel said Friday his client is innocent. He questioned why police released the public notice nine months after Marty was accused rather than after the allegation was initially made in April.
“To issue a press release nine months later … confirms that their evidence is weak,” Gohel said, adding that cops appear to be “trolling for victims.”
Marty wasn’t charged in 2004 because the alleged victim’s statements at the time were “totally inconsistent,” Gohel said. “The first case can’t even stand on its own feet it’s so weak,” he said. “Then they bolstered a weak case with another weak case.”
First Student, the bus company that provides services to the school district, claims Marty had a “clean background.” The school district said it did not remove Marty from contact with children in 2004 because he wasn’t charged in that case.
Marty is in custody and will remain so until his jury trial.