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School Bus Driver Appears in Court

Defense and prosecuting attorneys to meet before Fratti's next scheduled preliminary hearing.

Jose F. Fratti, a bus driver for Fairfax County Public Schools who was arrested for the abduction and sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl, requested that his preliminary hearing be postponed.

This case involves "unusual and serious allegations of sexual abuse," said his defense attorney Peter Greenspun, during a short hearing before Judge Teena D. Grodner in Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court last Friday, July 1.

"I would like the opportunity to discuss [the case] with the commonwealth to see if we can come to resolution," Greenspun said.

<b>ON MAY 24,</b> Fratti, 47 of the 3500 block of Memorial Street in Alexandria, gave his cell phone number to a 9-year-old student on one of his bus routes, according to court documents. Fratti asked her to call him after school.

The 9-year-old told police that she called her bus driver, who then called her back at her house numerous times between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., which was verified by her caller identification according to the documents. "Fratti told her to come outside of her residence where he would meet her," read the documents.

When the girl met him in the parking lot in front of her apartment, Fratti asked her to get inside his truck. "When victim one hesitated, Mr. Fratti grabbed her jacket and pulled her into the pickup truck," according to court documents.

The girl was able to free herself and reported the incident, according to police reports.

Fratti was arrested on Wednesday, May 25, and charged with abduction and sexual assault.

During an interview with detectives, Fratti corroborated statements made by the victim, according to search warrants.

<b>LETTERS WERE SENT</b> to parents of children who rode the bus to Woodley Hills, Riverside, Mount Vernon Woods and Fort Belvoir elementary schools to alert them that the bus driver had been arrested and had been suspended from his employment with Fairfax County Public Schools.

"You many have heard about the arrest … of Jose Fratti for abducting and sexually assaulting a girl. He was a Fairfax County Public Schools bus driver who served a number of schools in our area," according to the letter sent home to parents of children at Woodley Hills. "He was the driver of your child's bus. Mr. Fratti is currently suspended from service with Fairfax County Public Schools."

Fratti remains free on bond. His next hearing is scheduled for the end of July.