School Bus Driver’s Child Porn Trial Delayed For Mental Evaluation

Child Porn Bust

The child pornography trial of a former Springdale school bus driver has been delayed indefinitely while state officials determine whether George O’Dea is mentally fit to stand trial, according the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office.

O’Dea, 65, is set to undergo a mental evaluation from the Arkansas State Hospital, delaying his trial that was initially scheduled to begin Tuesday in Benton County Circuit Court, said Stuart Cearley, Benton County deputy prosecutor.

Cearly said a mental status hearing to address O’Dea’s mental evaluation is scheduled for March 17 in Benton County.

O’Dea, of Rogers, was arrested last February after Benton County deputies said they uncovered 500 images of child pornography on computers in his house. He was later released from the Benton County Jail on $50,000 bond, according to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

The former school bus driver for the Springdale School District pleaded not guilty last March to 10 counts of possession of child pornography.

Following his arrest, O’Dea was subsequently suspended with pay from his job as a Springdale school bus driver, while administrators decided a course of action. O’Dea then resigned from the district, said Rick Schaeffer, spokesman for the school district.

O’Dea told detectives he accidentally downloaded material of children having sex, according to an arrest warrant affidavit from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were able to trace the address of O’Dea’s home computer from child pornography downloads online, the affidavit states. Deputies subpoenaed AT&T for the information.

When deputies carried out a search warrant on O’Dea’s home, the suspect told a detective he downloaded the child pornography but deleted it as soon as he located it, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

O’Dea told detectives he downloaded pornography every day, and would often download up to 200 pornography files at a time, according to the affidavit.

“He stated he did not know who he was downloading from as he just searched by key words,” the affidavit states. “He admitted to downloading child pornography, but stated he did not do it intentionally, but that it was just lumped in with all the other downloads.”

O’Dea’s school bus routes included Monitor Elementary School, Sonora Middle School and Springdale High School, Schaeffer said.

O’Dea was employed by the district for three years, Schaeffer said. He earned an annual salary of between $11,233 and $13,301, according to the school district website.

The arrest was made at O’Dea’s home at 3407 East Drive in Rogers.

O’Dea’s wife, Linda, told 5NEWS she also is a bus driver in the Springdale school district. She had been a driver for about two months at the time of the arrest, Schaeffer said.

During the arrest, she said she did not know why O’Dea was being taken into custody.

“My husband is the most honest man I`ve ever known in my life, and I can`t fathom this going on right now,” she said.

The arrest was the result of an investigation into child pornography begun Jan. 15 by the sheriff’s Cyber Crimes Unit, said Sheriff Kelley Cradduck.

Cradduck said the investigation was accelerated because the suspect frequently was around children. In addition to his job, he played Santa Claus during the holiday season, Cradduck said. The sheriff said it is unclear where O’Dea worked as a Santa Claus.

odea mugshot

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