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Troy school bus driver charged with trying to have sex with minor

Michael Varian Michael Varian |

December 12, 2018 04:05 PM

A Troy man who works as a school bus driver is facing charges for allegedly trying to have sexual contact with a 14-year-old boy in Albany County.

Michael Varian, 52, appeared in federal court on Tuesday. He is charged with attempting to entice a minor into sexual activity.

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Authorities say Varian, a school bus driver for Star and Strand Transportation, was exchanging sexually explicit text messages with an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old boy for several weeks.

Police say Varian arranged to meet the boy at a location in Albany County. That’s where officers took him into custody.

Varian drove buses for Star and Strand Transportation, which is one of the companies contracted by the Troy City School District. A representative for Troy CSD sent this statement to NewsChannel 13 on Tuesday:

"The parents/guardians of the Troy students on this driver’s routes are being notified, and this driver will no longer be transporting our students.

Star and Strand is one of several outside companies contracted by the District for student transportation. Per New York State Department of Motor Vehicle guidelines, bus drivers are subject to fingerprinting and background checks for prior offenses through the New York State Department of Criminal Justice and the FBI. In addition to the driver, a monitor is always present on the bus when transporting students.

We are obviously disturbed by these allegations. The safety and security of our students, both in school and on school-provided transportation, remains our top priority. We will continue to work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on this ongoing investigation."

The FBI says it has not identified any students as potential victims.

Varian will be detained until a detention hearing scheduled for December 12.

If convicted, Varian faces at least 10 years and up to life in prison, a term of post-release supervision of at least 5 years and up to life, and a fine of up to $250,000.

Anyone with information relevant to this investigation may contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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