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Bus driver back in court

The attorney for a North Shore Community School bus driver accused of sexually assaulting five preteen girls told St. Louis County District Court Wednesday that she is still waiting for the prosecution to give her evidence that it has gathered against her client and she asked for another hearing date.

Jimmy Jerome James, 62, is charged with five counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly engaging in sexual contact with five North Shore Community School students between the ages of 6 and 10. He is free after posting a $100,000 bond.

James' defense attorney, Joanna Wiegert of Cloquet, told Judge David Johnson that it is imperative that the St. Louis County Attorney's office turn over its evidence to her so that she can evaluate the case. Another hearing in which James can challenge the evidence gathered against him and the way that it was gathered was scheduled for July 14.

According to the criminal complaint, James placed his hands under the girls' clothes and touched them on their buttocks, chests and "private parts." The alleged victims were interviewed at the First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center. One girl told an interviewer that the bus driver let kids sit on his lap so they could open the bus door. She said that James touched her in a way that made her feel sick and that she knew several other girls who were touched in the same way by the defendant. She provided the names of six female students.

The suspect has been a full-time employee of the Lake Superior School District for the past 38 years and most recently was head janitor at Two Harbors High School. He worked part-time as a school bus driver. North Shore Community School is within the Lake Superior school district but is separate. They share bus services.