Bus-Driver Groper Claims Coffee Made Him Do It

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on July 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Move over, Twinkie defense. A bus driver convicted of groping women and girls claims it wasn't sugar, but too much caffeinated coffee that turned him from groggy to overly grabby.

Kenneth Sands, 51, a school bus driver from Rainier, Wash., was convicted of groping three girls and two women at a high-school volleyball game in October, Seattle's KOMO-TV reports. His convictions come with jail time.

But at Sands' sentencing Tuesday, he stirred up resentment when he came forth with his coffee defense.

It's not clear how much coffee Kenneth Sands drank that day in October, but he told the court that jolts of caffeine turned him into a jerk. "That caused a psychotic episode," Sands said, according to KOMO. "My son-in-law and daughter had never seen that kind of behavior from myself."

The behavior Sands referred to included grabbing a 46-year-old woman's breasts multiple times, and grabbing her butt as she tried to escape his unwanted clutches, KOMO reports. At the same volleyball game, Sands also grabbed a teenage girl's butt and slapped another on the rear.

Caffeine is not typically considered an intoxicant, and its use as a legal defense is questionable -- especially if a perpetrator voluntarily drank the coffee and knew it contained caffeine.

But it brings to mind the famous "Twinkie defense," in which San Francisco politician Dan White claimed a sugar rush partly caused him to shoot and kill the city's then-mayor along with openly gay politico Harvey Milk. (Despite popular belief, however, the "Twinkie defense" is not why White received a light sentence, the San Francisco Chronicle explains.)

Kenneth Sands was sentenced to five years in prison, Seattle's KIRO-TV reports -- but a judge suspended most of that sentence, meaning Sands will serve just five months. It's not clear how the groper's coffee defense played into his sentencing.

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