"Incomprehensible": Bus driver gets max sentence for molesting special needs children

Michael Banco

KLAS

LAS VEGAS -- A former Clark County School District bus driver has been sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole after 35 years for molesting special needs children, the maximum sentence possible. KSNV-TV reported Wednesday that Michael Banco was convicted of molesting the children that were 3 and 4 years old. 

He initially faced 41 counts, but pleaded guilty last month to one count each of sexual assault with a minor under 16 and lewdness with a child under 14, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Prosecutors called it the most horrific case they've ever seen. Judge Elisa Cadish called the crimes "incomprehensible" when sentencing Banco.

Some of the incidents were caught on bus surveillance cameras. On three separate days, according to the paper, the camera recorded images Of Banco molesting and assaulting "very small" children in the back of a bus before dropping them off at school, according to the Review Journal. He was arrested in 2015.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Sam Martinez called the crimes "depraved" and "horrible."

"He knew exactly what he was doing," Martinez said, according to the paper.  "....These little girls will have to live with this the rest of their lives."

The mother of one of the victims reportedly said in court that her daughter still has nightmares. Another woman whose granddaughter was 3 at the time of the attacks called the child a hero for telling her family about Banco's actions.

"This man has destroyed my granddaughter," the woman told the judge. "How do we get past that? I don't know what else to do, but hug her. That's all I have."