By J. NOEL ESPINOZA
Special to the NEWS
A former San Benito IDEA bus driver is facing a 15-count indictment for a series of charges in relation to child sex crimes. Antonio Nino also worked for the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District twice during a period spanning almost two decades.
Antonio Nino, 39, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor while he worked as a bus driver and transportation manager at IDEA in San Benito.
According to files found on the Cameron County Public Portal, Nino is facing a one-count of an improper relationship with a minor, one-count of sexual assault with a child, and 13-counts of possession of child pornography.
The case has been heard in the 107th District Court presided by Judge Benjamin Euresti Jr.
According to Cameron County records, Nino has been facing these allegations since 2016 when the second-degree felony charges of having an improper relationship with a minor and sexual assault with a child charges were filed. The rest of the third-degree felony charges were filed in October 2017.
In an email to the NEWS, SBCISD Public Relations Director Isabel Gonzalez confirmed Nino worked as a bus driver and safety trainer from Nov. 16, 2000, to Nov. 25, 2008, when he resigned, and again from Dec. 22, 2017, to April 24, 2019, when he was terminated.
While working at SBCISD, Gonzalez said “there were never any reports of child sex crimes made about and/or while Mr. Nino was a San Benito CISD employee.”
“When provided with information regarding Mr. Nino’s alleged misconduct while employed as a bus driver with IDEA Public Schools, San Benito CISD immediately placed Mr. Nino on leave and ultimately terminated his employment,” Gonzalez responded when asked why Nino left SBCISD.
The indictments allege that Nino, while working for IDEA San Benito, intentionally and knowingly engaged in sexual contact with MA, a pseudonym, for the minor enrolled in the IDEA school and who was then younger than 17 years of age.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Dec. 6-12, 2019 issue of the NEWS.