WEST JORDAN, UTAH – A former school bus driver was found guilty on 19 felony counts related to child sex abuse.
The jury found John Carrell guilty on 19 of the 33 felony counts related to aggravated sex abuse of a child. He was found not guilty on 14 of the remaining felony counts. The 19 guilty verdicts covered both of his victims. The two girls were special needs children and rode on the bus Carrell drove for the Canyons School District.
The jury delivered the mixed verdict after 16 hours of deliberations.
In the courtroom, there was a quiet tension moments before the judge started reading each of the 33 counts.
Judge: “Count one, not guilty”There was a gasp in the courtroom after the first charge was read. Carrell’s eyes enlarged.
But then reality hit Carrell when count two was read by the judge. Judge: “Count two: guilty of aggravated sex abuse of a child.”
All it took was one guilty verdict and Carrell knew he would be going to prison for a long time.
When it was over, Carrell was found guilty on 19 of the 33 charges of aggravated sex abuse of a child.
Afterwards, the parents of one of the victims spoke briefly about the guilty verdicts.
“Closure, closure for us, a little closure,” said Thomas Brown, the parent who first heard his daughter speak of a problem on the school bus.
Brown’s wife was also present during the entire trial. And she was focusing on getting her child back to normal.
“We go home and we care for our kids,” Marisela Brown said. “That is our future. That is our life and that’s what they need. We want to care for her.”
When asked if her special needs daughter who is now six years old would understand the guilty verdict she said no.
As for John Carrell, he showed little emotion when the verdicts were read. He was taken into custody after the verdicts were read.
His family left the courtroom without comment but visibly shaken and weeping.
Carrell’s attorney said he accepted the verdict.
“We’re disappointed obviously and he’s disappointed,” said Ron Yengich. “But John accepts the verdict as well. That’s what we should do in a country that we believe in the jury system.”
Carrell will remain in the Salt Lake County jail until he’s sentenced on September 24. He faces a sentence of 15-year-to life in prison on each of the charges. The question remains whether the judge will offer him consecutive or concurrent sentences.