St. Johns County school bus aide caught inappropriately touching student with special needs: report

Dean Heaton mugshot (St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A 67-year-old St. Johns County School bus aide is accused of inappropriately touching a student with special needs, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

Dean Heaton is facing 22 counts of lewd and lascivious behavior and one count of sexual assault.

According to an arrest report, Heaton is accused of using his position as a school bus aide to inappropriately touch a 15-year-old girl with special needs.

The report said a surveillance camera inside the bus recorded the alleged crimes on multiple occasions from March 30 to April 27. Investigators said they collected 21 video clips of Heaton interacting with and touching the girl.

Investigators, according to the report, also discovered a pattern of behavior by Heaton. According to detectives, during pickups and drop-offs, Heaton would wait for the bus driver to exit the bus to operate the lift for kids who were physically handicapped. While the bus driver was outside, detectives said Heaton could be seen on video reaching over and touching the girl.

The camera also recorded other acts that led to Heaton being criminally charged, the report stated.

Heaton’s statements were redacted from the report, but it appears he may have confessed to the crimes during the interrogation.

St. Johns County school officials said Heaton was employed by the school district since 2014. On Friday, officials told News4JAX that a letter to recommend termination was hand delivered by Superintendent Tim Forson to the St. Johns County jail, where Heaton is currently an inmate.

Prior to his arrest, Heaton was placed on administrative leave when the school district learned that he was under a criminal investigation.

News4JAX reached out to the sheriff’s office to see if they think there could potentially be more victims, but has not heard back.

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