Friday, January 28, 2011

WTA On-Board Camera Recorded Bus Driver Talking to Passenger about Sex Act

Audio and video surveillance on a Whatcom Transportation Authority bus recorded the driver, a former Lynden city councilman, allegedly offering that his friend would pay $50 to perform fellatio on a passenger in December.
The driver, Jay Van Lant, 57, was charged in Whatcom County Superior Court Thursday, Jan. 20, with one count of second-degree promoting prostitution, which is a class C felony in Washington.

His arraignment, where he enters a not-guilty plea and has a trial date set, is scheduled for Friday.

Van Lant was fired from the WTA after the passenger, a 32-year-old man, told another WTA staff member about the incident, which occurred Dec. 14.

Van Lant also was employed as a part-time school bus driver with the Lynden Christian Schools. Superintendent Don Kok said last week that Van Lant has been put on administrative leave.

According to charging documents filed in Superior Court:

The passenger was alone with Van Lant when he made the offer. Van Lant told police the passenger was a regular rider on his bus route.

The passenger had taken the bus earlier to get to a work site where he thought he could get work as a roofer, but it fell through so he got back on the bus, which was driven by Van Lant.

The passenger told police that as they were talking, Van Lant mentioned that he had a break coming up soon and offered to take the passenger to coffee so they could discuss job opportunities.

Van Lant then told the passenger about how his friend, who he said is gay but prefers straight men, would pay money to perform fellatio on him.

According to a transcript of the conversation, Van Lant said, "He brings you to his house and brings you back ... 50 bucks is 50 bucks."

When interviewed by a Bellingham police detective in January, Van Lant admitted to making the offer.

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