Trial dates set for former bus driver charged in 2017 child enticement case

MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) -- The 54-year-old former bus driver charged with child enticement, abduction and stalking following an incident in June 2017 is scheduled to head to trial next month.

James Schmit of Tomahawk is free on $100,000 bond, after posting the first $35,000 in cash.

According to court documents, the student-- the only passenger, said Schmit drove by her house twice instead of dropping her off. The girl said Schmit finally dropped her off during a third drive-by.

Deputies said video from the bus corroborated the alleged victim's story.
According to court documents, after the girl exited the bus Schmit made a sexually explicit comment and sexually gratified himself.

The two-day trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 17.

The Tomahawk School District released this statement following Schmit's arrest:

Dear Parents,

Earlier this week, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department notified the Tomahawk Bus Company that that one of their bus drivers who regularly transports our students had been arrested on three child endangerment charges. The charges stem from an incident involving one of our students.
Our first and most important responsibility is to ensure the safety of all children. While I understand that the child was ultimately physically unharmed, to say that I am stunned and upset by this news is an understatement.

Because this is an open investigation, I cannot provide additional details at this time. However, I can say that we have been in communication with the parents of the student involved and we are cooperating with the Lincoln County authorities as they conduct their investigation. We have also been assured by the Tomahawk Bus Company that serves our district that the driver in question will never transport students again.

This is upsetting news, I do want to assure you every bus driver who transports our students must undergo a background check, and we will continue to work with our local bus company to ensure our students’ safety at all times.

Terry Reynolds, Superintendent
Tomahawk School District

Schmit was arrested June 14, 2017.