UPDATE: Wis. Court Orders New Trial in Bus Assault

UPDATED Tuesday, April 9, 2013 --- 10:03 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state appeals court says a school bus driver accused of sexually assaulting a student deserves a new trial.

According to court documents, a Whitefish Bay High School student accused Gene Echols of sexually assaulting her when she was the only passenger on his bus. Echols contended the girl threatened him with a snowball and made up the allegations to divert attention from the incident, which might have resulted in expulsion given her history of discipline problems. A jury convicted Echols in 2010.

The 1st District Court of Appeals ordered a new trial Tuesday for Echols. The court said the trial judge should have admitted the girl's discipline problems into evidence.

The state Justice Department handled the appeal for local prosecutors. An agency spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2013 --- 11:31 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin appeals court has ruled in favor of a Milwaukee high school bus driver who argued a lower court failed to consider some evidence and unfairly used testimony in convicting him of sexually assaulting a student.

The 1st District Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled a Milwaukee County Circuit Court lacked sufficient grounds to convict 26-year-old Gene Echols of second-degree sexual assault and sexual assault of a child by a person who works with children.

A high school student accused the bus driver of sexually assaulted her in 2010 after the two got into an argument. Echols argued the lower court ignored evidence that the student had a long history of disciplinary problems at school. Echols also said the court unfairly used testimony from the school bus safety director who Echols said had a history of lying.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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