A former aide on a bus that transported Tallmadge City Schools students has been arrested and charged with gross sexual imposition after police said he inappropriately touched young students.


Tallmadge police said Howard T. Franklin, 32, of Tallmadge, was arrested Feb. 25 with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force. He is facing charges in Stow Municipal Court of gross sexual imposition and attempted gross sexual imposition.


Police said Howard was employed as an aide on buses that transported students for Tallmadge schools. Allegations arose of inappropriate touching of young students.


Superintendent Jeff Ferguson said allegations were made in September 2019 and the employee was immediately removed from the bus. Petermann Bus Co. later terminated Franklin’s employment, he said.


"We received the allegation, we immediately removed him," Ferguson said. "At that point it became a police investigation and he was terminated by Petermann."


A spokesman for Petermann said the bus company notified the district and local authorities as soon as it received complaints about alleged inappropriate behavior by a bus monitor.


"We worked closely with the authorities, and provided videos of the alleged incidents to the police for its review and investigation," spokesman Edward Flavin said in an email. "Additionally, the Department of Child and Family Services was notified about the allegations made against our former employee. The monitor’s employment was terminated on Friday, September 27, 2019."


Ferguson said the bus aides are not school employees.


Police said it was determined that five girls between the ages of 6 and 9 were touched on the outside of their clothing, resulting in the charges against Franklin.


Ferguson said the district will continue to work with police to keep students safe inside and outside of the building.


Reach Beacon Journal reporter Sean McDonnell at smcdonnell@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3186.