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WEST BRANCH, MI (WNEM) -
Michigan State Police have arrested an Ogemaw County bus driver and charged him with first-degree criminal sexual conduct after it was alleged that he had sexual relations with a female student.
MSP Lt. Mel Matthews, with the West Branch Post, told TV5's Gino Vicci that 34-year-old James Raymond Matthews, of Prescott, was arraigned in court on Thursday, Jan. 24.
Authorities close to the case said James Matthews, a Whittemore-Prescott School District employee, was accused of sex with the student who is under the age of 16 but older than 13.
State police began investigating the allegations in November of 2012. Besides driving the school bus, Matthews also worked in the high school cafeteria.
A judge has ordered Matthews to stay away from schools, minors and social networks. Sources tell WNEM.com Matthews is married and has a daughter who is close in age to the minor he is accused of having a sexual relationship with. According to a statement by the high school, the alleged sexual relationship did not happen on school grounds or on a bus.
According to Ogemaw County Prosecutor LaDonna Schultz, James Matthews communicated frequently with the minor while on school grounds. Schultz said James Matthews exchanged a number of text messages with the minor describing sex acts. Schultz said it was students at the school who alerted administrators to a possible relationship between Matthews and the female student.
The school said James Matthews was released from his duties as a bus driver and cafeteria aid in December 2012. Matthews is currently lodged in the Ogemaw County Jail on $100,000 bond. He's due back in court on Feb. 12.
If Matthews is convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, he could be sentenced to up to life in prison.
Stay with WNEM.com as we learn more information about this case.
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