Sexual Assaults to Minors on School Bus Spark Major Lawsuit
BOSTON, MA – A Boston-based mother has initiated legal action against the Boston Public Schools District, a private bus company, and two of its employees, alleging that her nine-year-old daughter was subjected to repeated sexual assaults on a school bus. The lawsuit alleges that an 11-year-old co-student was the perpetrator of the assaults, which took place on the bus ride home from Match Charter Public School in Hyde Park, with the bus driver and monitor allegedly witnessing the incidents.
The lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court by the law firm Morgan & Morgan, implicates Match Charter Schools, Transdev Services, and Boston Public Schools, all of whom have contracts with Transdev. The assaults are said to have spanned seven months of the 2024-2024 academic year.
Attorneys Nina Bonelli and Alexander Zodikoff, representing the family, have publicly expressed their dismay at the severity of the case, which involves a young child being repeatedly violated over a school year. The lawsuit also reveals that the young victim had confided in two friends about the assaults, who then brought the matter to the attention of the school administration.
The family’s request for security camera footage from the bus was met with the response that none was available. Boston Public Schools later indicated that the onboard camera footage had been erased by the time the report was finalized, a full five months after the alleged assaults.
A spokesperson for Boston Public Schools has stated that Match Charter School is legally bound to investigate any incidents involving its students. The family’s attorneys have revealed that the young girl was compelled to leave school before completing fourth grade due to the physical and psychological trauma she suffered.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. A settlement exceeding $52 million has been agreed upon by the city of Sacramento and its education district, addressing a sexual abuse case involving a former teacher’s aide that dates back over a decade. The settlement comes after accusations that school officials failed to exercise due diligence.
In 2016, Joshua Vasquez was sentenced to a prison term of 150 years to life following his confession of sexually abusing children as young as seven at Mark Twain Elementary School. Vasquez was not only a part-time worker for the Sacramento City Unified School District but also served as the program leader for the city’s START after-school program.
Five victims will receive a $40 million payout per last week’s settlement agreement. The city and the district will share the burden of this payout, with the town covering around 60% and the district the remaining. Another victim received a separate settlement of $12.5 million.
The city has issued letters to the victims as part of the settlement, acknowledging their bravery in coming forward. The city’s director of youth, parks, and community enrichment, Jackie Beecham, signed the letter, offering sincere apologies for the trauma caused by Vasquez.
In response to the public awareness of the cases, officials have introduced several policy and procedure enhancements. These include more rigorous training and stricter rules governing the circumstances under which staff members can interact with students alone.
Charlie Health’s 2024 data indicates that 50% of girls and 30% of boys have been victims of sexual abuse. The riskiest years for such abuse are between the ages of 12 and 34. The majority of sexual assault victims are acquainted with their abusers, and these victims are significantly more likely to contemplate or attempt suicide than those who have not suffered sexual abuse.