The Utah Court of Appeals wasn’t persuaded by a former bus driver’s arguments — including the claim that video of him inappropriately touching young female passengers wasn’t sufficient evidence of the allegations against him — that they should overturn his convictions.
John Martin Carrell, 65, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison in 2015 on 19 first-degree felony counts of aggravated sexual abuse of child.
Carrell, a bus driver for the Canyons School District, was accused of molesting two 5-year-old special-needs students who attended Altara Elementary School in Sandy. The abuse occurred during bus rides in March and April 2014.
Carrell’s appeal was three-fold. The first and second arguments hinged on language used in the jury instructions, including whether it was appropriate to include touching a victim’s buttocks or otherwise taking “indecent liberties” with the victims as a basis for conviction.
The 3rd District Court jury was told to consider whether Carrell “knowingly or intentionally, touched any part of the genitals [or buttocks] ... or otherwise took indecent liberties with” the victims.
The court defined “indecent liberties” as “conduct as serious as” actually touching the victims inappropriately.
Carrell also argued that a victim’s testimony of the abuse, and bus surveillance video that appears to show him molesting the girls on the bus, wasn’t sufficient to prove his guilt.
The court disagreed with all of Carrell’s arguments. They did not overturn his conviction. He remains at Utah State Prison in Draper.
Carrell has maintained his innocence throughout his criminal trial, and in connection to a civil lawsuit. The civil case resulted in a $175,000 settlement from the school district on behalf of one of the victims.
Another lawsuit, filed on behalf of the other victim in Utah’s U.S. District Court, was dismissed because of an agreement between Carrell and the plaintiff to wait until the conclusion of Carrell’s state appeal.
The lawsuit can be refiled up to six months after the conclusion of the appeal.