A fleet of Issaquah school buses travel during their daily commute on Tuesday, Sept. 24 in Issaquah. Natalie DeFord/Staff photo

A fleet of Issaquah school buses travel during their daily commute on Tuesday, Sept. 24 in Issaquah. Natalie DeFord/Staff photo

Issaquah school bus driver arrested for child rape

Police say suspect had no prior criminal history.

Issaquah police arrested a 47-year-old male suspect for child rape in the first degree on Sept. 16. The suspect is also an employee of the Issaquah School District and has been for almost two years, according to the district.

Hakim Fareed has been charged with child molestation in the first degree and rape of a child in the first degree, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. His bond is set at $500,000.

Detectives arrested the suspect in his Issaquah apartment, where the crime was reported to have taken place, said patrol commander Paula Schwan. The victim is 11 years old. They do not reside in the city and are safe, police said.

Fareed is accused of sexually abusing the child over a period of years, beginning as many as two years ago, when the victim was 9. The victim would visit the suspect and spend the night. The victim told police he didn’t tell anyone because the defendant was “nice during the day” and he wanted to see his family members who resided in the home, according to charging papers.

Court records indicate that the most recent instance of abuse occurred in September 2019.

The victim also told police that the defendant’s adopted children had shared that they had been sexually abused by the defendant, court documents state. The investigation into abuse of any additional victims is ongoing.

The defendant is a single man who adopted four children ages 4-16 from another state before moving to Washington about three years ago from Ohio. Issaquah PD had no information on where the adoptions took place. The children were removed from the home on Sept. 16, police said.

“The defendant has deliberately put himself in the position of having access to numerous children,” Emily Petersen, senior deputy prosecuting attorney, wrote in court documents. She noted the defendant having access to other children through his job as a bus driver for the Issaquah SD. The defendant was ordered to have no contact with the victim or any other minors unless another adult is present.

The Issaquah School District was notified of Fareed’s arrest on Sept. 17, the morning after he was taken into custody, police said. And as a result of the arrest, the driver has been put on paid administrative leave.

Administrative leave is used as an immediate step and allows the due process to happen, said L. Michelle, the district’s executive director of communications. The school district began to immediately look through his personnel file and found no complaints or disciplinary action. The district is also pulling video footage of the driver during bus trips. The footage is primarily collected for student safety with instances of bullying.

Upon employment, Michelle added that he passed background checks and an FBI fingerprinting. He has no known criminal history.

“There’s no reason to believe any incident happened on our bus or with him while employed with us,” Michelle said. “There’s nothing to lead us to believe that was the case. But we’re still, as a precaution, going to make sure to cooperate with law enforcement and do our due diligence.”

So far this school year, the man drove four days on bus route number 3 which services Apollo Elementary School and Issaquah Middle School. Last year, the man drove in the evening for bus route 9, which services Issaquah Middle School, Issaquah High School and Sunset Elementary.

No notice had been issued to school district parents as of Thursday afternoon, Sept. 19, according to Michelle. But in a follow-up email the district said they were in the process of reaching out to parents of students who were on the defendant’s bus routes.

“Obviously it’s very difficult for the organization,” Michelle said. “It’s a shock and it’s hard but…we are taking every precaution.”

The police department is collaborating with the FBI and Child Protective Services regarding another potential victim in the state of Ohio. There is no information that currently leads officers to believe there are victims outside of the defendant’s family.

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