A Seacoast-area bus driver has been sentenced to 160 years in federal prison for sexually abusing children on his route and recording the some of the acts.
John Allen Wright, 46, of Milton – a Provider bus service employee who had transported children in Rockingham County, Strafford County, and Kittery, Maine, from 2008 until his arrest last fall – was sentenced in United States District Court in Concord on Friday to the maximum penalty for five counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of possession of child pornography, according to U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas.
Wright previously pleaded guilty in the case, which Kacavas said in a release "represents yet another example of our resolve to eradicate the threat to our children posed by predators like [Wright]."
"While a sentence of this duration is beyond man’s capacity to serve, justice for the young victims and a just punishment for this Defendant are beyond our capacity to achieve," wrote Kacavas. "Therefore, only the maximum
possible punishment authorized by law is appropriate and like-minded individuals who seek to prey on our children be warned.”
In February, 2011, a member of New Hampshire’s Internet Crimes Against Children (NH ICAC) Task Force initiated an undercover investigation to locate and identify individuals possessing and trading images of child pornography through file sharing networks, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Information obtained as a result of the investigation led to the issuance of a search warrant for Wright’s residence in Milton. In the course of the search, computers and peripherals were seized and forensic examination revealed several videos depicting Wright sexually assaulting minor children who were passengers aboard his school bus. The initial search also revealed thousands of child sexual assault images that had been downloaded from the internet.
A subsequent federal search warrant yielded further evidence linking Wright to the production of the videos, the U.S. Attorney said. Wright has been in custody since his indictment in October 2011. Wright also faces 20 counts in a state-level case against him, although officials have said they may not pursue the state charges because federal attorneys were pursuing a sentence that went far beyond Wright's life expectancy.
In addition to the NH ICAC Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New London Police Department, the Dover Police Department, and the Kittery, Maine Police Department contributed to this investigation and prosecution.