BRIDGEPORT - Bridgeport police say a 39-year-old school bus driver is charged with sexually assaulting his stepdaughter.

Ricardo Julien, 39, appeared in court on Monday. Investigators say the abuse happened over a period of years, beginning when the girl was 5 years old. They say she is now 17 years old.

Police say the first assault happened when Julien picked the girl up at a friend's house and later attacked her in the car.

Police say the girl later told them Julien had assaulted her several times over the years.

Dattco Bus Company officials say Julien was required to pass FBI fingerprint checks, annual criminal background checks and multiple pre-employment examinations before starting the job in August 2013.

The company says he has been on unpaid leave since February, when investigators announced they had opened an investigation against him.

Police say the Department of Children and Families is investigating the case.

Julien is being held on $200,000 bond.