HomeDriversN.H. School Bus Driver Charged with Distributing Child Sex Abuse Images

N.H. School Bus Driver Charged with Distributing Child Sex Abuse Images

A school bus driver and his wife have been charged in connection with their production of child sexual abuse materials.

Paul Baird, 43, at the time of his arrest, was employed as a bus driver by contractor Student Transportation of America, which provides transportation for the Contoocook Valley (ConVal) School District.

Baird and wife Krystal, 38, were charged on March 20 with producing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire. As early as November 2023, Paul Baird allegedly used a dark web chat site that shares child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) of girls from 4 to 14 years of age. On March 7, he allegedly posted links to three CSAM images.

An AP News article added that according to a court affidavit, an “investigator with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said an undercover agent who saw the images posted online used metadata to trace them to Baird. Krystal Baird told investigators all three photos were taken at their home in December. She said her husband took one photo, and she took the other two at his request because she didn’t want to anger him, according to the complaint.”

A search of their residence in Keene, New Hampshire led to the couple’s arrest.

Student Transportation of America (STA) stated it is aware of the allegations regarding “a now-former employee who was a driver for the ConVal Regional School District.”

The company said Baird began employment with STA on Sept. 15, 2023. STA immediately terminated him after learning of his arrest. “All drivers undergo a complete and extensive background check, and this individual did not have any prior history of concern,” STA added. “However, a commitment to safety is a condition of every driver’s employment with our company.”

STA said it is fully cooperating with authorities and ConVal school district on the ongoing investigation. “We will continue to prioritize the safety of the students we transport,” the company added.

Related: (STN Podcast E202) Superintendent Snapshot 2/4: Contoocook Valley School District, New Hampshire
Related: Superintendent Snapshot: New Hampshire District Shares Importance of Collaborating with Transportation Contractor
Related: FMCSA Takes CDL from W.V. School Bus Driver in DUI Crash
Related: School Bus Driver, 3 Children Killed in Illinois School Bus Crash

Meanwhile, ConVal Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders, a recent finalist for National Superintendent of the Year, said the district was made aware of the arrest on Wednesday.

“It does not appear at this time that the arrest is connected to any activity involving our students and staff, or any district-related activity,” she shared.

She said the district intends to fully cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “The safety and security of our students is our utmost concern,” Saunders noted. “We will be reviewing our transportation safety protocols beginning immediately. Additionally, the district will begin an immediate review with STA of their policies and practices, to ensure that our students are afforded the highest level of protection and that STA employees reflect the shared values of our district.

She said that ConVal is committed to updating the community as further information can be made public.

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