Aug 23, 2012 1:32 AM by Andy Koen

Prior convictions missed by three criminal background checks

COLORADO SPRINGS - A Widefield school bus driver accused of sexual assault on a child had prior convictions that should have prevented him from getting a job.

Robert Gordon, 48, was arrested Tuesday on three counts of Sexual Assault on a Child stemming from an alleged sexual relationship he carried out with a 12 year old boy in 2002.

In the arrest warrant, Gordon admitted to detectives with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office to having sex with the victim and another underage boy at his home on multiple occasions.  Both Gordon and the victim described the sex to investigators as being consensual.

News 5 searched court records and found Gordon was acquitted in a case of Sexual Assault on a Child in 2001. He also had prior misdemeanor convictions of Harboring a Runaway Child in 1998 and driving under a suspended license in 1996.

Widefield Human Resources Director Kirk Vsetecka said Gordon is on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the current trial. He says either of the misdemeanors would have disqualified any job applicant. However, neither conviction turned up in separate criminal background searches with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, the Colorado Springs Police and the FBI.

"It is concerning to us that we would receive information that wasn't fully inclusive of all the information necessary,"Vsetecka said.

The CBI told administrators at the district that their database catalogues criminal records by fingerprints. In both of Gordon's earlier convictions he was simply ticketed.

Gordon was first hired by Widefield in 2005 and has worked off and on for the district since. Vsetecka said he was previously a bus driver in Fountain Fort Carson District 8.

His bus was number 144 and transported students to Widefield High School and King Elementary School.

Public Information Officer James Drew says parents of student who rode that bus were notified by email that Gordon would not be driving the bus. He said the sheriff's office didn't indicate to them that there were any other victims.

Gordon is in custody at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center on $750,000 bond.


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