MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

A state appeals court says a school bus driver accused of sexually assaulting a student deserves a new trial.

According to court documents, a Whitefish Bay High School student accused Gene Echols of sexually assaulting her when she was the only passenger on his bus. Echols contended the girl threatened him with a snowball and made up the allegations to divert attention from the incident, which might have resulted in expulsion given her history of discipline problems. A jury convicted Echols in 2010.

The 1st District Court of Appeals ordered a new trial Tuesday for Echols. The court said the trial judge should have admitted the girl's discipline problems into evidence.

The state Justice Department handled the appeal for local prosecutors. An agency spokeswoman declined to comment.