Driving instructor accused of sexually abusing, secretly recording teen students


Driving instructor Richard “Joseph” Banks allegedly recorded himself sexually abusing teen students (San Diego Police via KNSD).

A California driving instructor who allegedly recorded himself sexually abusing teens he was teaching is behind bars after being hit with nearly three dozen criminal charges.

Richard Joseph Banks, 50, was a driving instructor for the American Driving School based in El Cajon when he allegedly carried out multiple assaults during driving lessons while secretly recording his victims, local NBC affiliate KNSD reported.

He was arrested Thursday and is facing 32 charges, including using a minor to create obscene material, sexual battery, and invasion of privacy, San Diego County Sheriff’s Office records show.

The owner of the driving school, Daniel Tackett, said he canceled Banks’ classes after learning about the investigation into his alleged crimes in November.

“We were shocked by the allegations against Joe,” Tackett told KNSD. “His actions are his alone, and they violate the trust and policies of our company and those of the DMV regarding inappropriate behavior. He hasn’t taught any students after SDPD notified us of their investigation. We’ve always encouraged parents to ride on the lessons for observation of our teaching methods. As with all DMV licensed instructors, Joe passed a DOJ background check before he was hired.”

Tackett told San Diego CBS affiliate KFMB that Banks had been with the company for about a year, got positive reviews from parents, and was referred to other families.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time and we take it very seriously so when something like this happens, it’s just devastating to us,” Tackett told the station.

Detectives are reportedly searching for more victims.

Banks has a court appearance scheduled for Tuesday.

More from Law&Crime: Prosecutor who ‘winks several times’ at camera while secretly recording sex with woman he was prosecuting sent to prison

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