San Diego Driving Instructor Accused Of Molesting, Recording Students

EL CAJON, CA — An East County driving instructor was arrested Thursday on suspicion of a string of sex crimes, authorities said.

Richard “Joseph” Banks, 50, a former driving instructor at American Driving School in El Cajon, was accused of sexually assaulting and molesting students during lessons, and secretly recording them with cameras hidden in his car, according to the San Diego Police Department.

“Investigators learned he was sexually assaulting and molesting female students during driving lessons,” police said in a news release. “While investigating these allegations, detectives learned Banks was using secret cameras hidden in the instructional car to record his students’ private areas during lessons.”

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Most of the victims were underage teenage girls, police said.

“We have identified 11 victims at this stage of our investigation, and we do believe there is a possibility of other unidentified victims related to this case,” Capt. Mike Holden told Patch.

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In a statement sent to Patch, Daniel Tackett, owner of American Driving School, said Banks was “immediately suspended” when police notified the company of their investigation in November.

“We were shocked to learn about the allegations against Joe,” Banks said. “His actions are his alone, and they violate the trust and policies of our company and those of the DMV regarding inappropriate behavior.”

Banks was arrested and booked into the Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of child abuse and molestation, sexual battery, possession of child pornography, production of child pornography, and installation and use of a secret recording device.

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Police were searching for other potential victims. Anyone who believes they may be a victim was urged to contact the department’s Northeastern Division at 858-538-8026 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

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