James Schmit booking photo

By Shereen Siewert

Sentencing has been set for a Tomahawk bus driver accused of stalking and abducting a 15-year-old girl who rode on the man’s bus.

James T. Schmit, now 54, will be sentenced Aug. 31 in Lincoln County Circuit Court. At a plea hearing in February Schmit was convicted of child enticement.

Stalking and abduction charges were dismissed but read into the record, and will be considered at sentencing.

The charges were filed three years ago after the teen told police she had been riding Schmit’s bus on the last day of school in 2017 when he suggested dropping other students off first. After the bus was empty, Schmit allegedly passed the girl’s house, then drove the girl to his own house. When Schimt finally took the girl home, Schmit allegedly hugged and kissed the girl and told her he loved her, police said.

Video captured inside the bus matched the girl’s account of what happened, police said. The girl was on the bus for more than 40 minutes after passing her home. After the teen got off the bus, the recording also shows Schmit “moaning” and making sexual comments aloud about the girl, according to the complaint.

When interviewed by police, Schmit admitted to having sexual feelings toward girls on his bus several times over the 26 years he had been a bus driver, according to the complaint.

Two months after his February 2020 plea hearing, Schmit successfully petitioned the court to reduce his $100,000 cash bond, and was freed after posting $35,000 cash and subject to additional bond conditions.

Prosecutors will recommend prison time for Schmit when he is sentenced, though his attorney is free to argue for a lesser penalty. Circuit Judge Robert Russell will hear the case.