James Schmit booking photo

By Shereen Siewert

A Tomahawk bus driver convicted of stalking and abducting a 15-year-old girl who rode on his bus was sentenced to three years in prison, followed by five years extended supervision.

James T. Schmit, 54, appeared in Lincoln County Circuit Court on Monday for a sentencing hearing on charges of child enticement. As part of an agreement with prosecutors, charges of stalking and abduction were dismissed, but read into the record.

Prosecutors say a 15-year-old girl was 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 passed the girl’s house, then drove the girl to his own house, police said. When Schimt finally took the girl home, Schmit hugged and kissed the girl and told her he loved her, according to court documents.

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.

At Monday’s sentencing hearing, Circuit Judge Robert Russell also ordered Schmit to participate in sex offender treatment as part of his eventual extended supervision terms and to have no contact with any female under the age of 18 years old.