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  • Sexual Assault and Abuse –Bus Drivers Ignore One Sexual Assault on Special Needs Student, Then Facilitate a Second: Peterson v. Trinity Transportation Group

Sommers Schwartz attorney Jay Yasso filed two sexual abuse and sexual assault actions on behalf of a female special needs student, alleging that a private school bus company’s employees permitted two separate instances of sexual assault on the girl. The lawsuits claimed the drivers’ egregious misconduct in both occurrences left the minor with severe and long-term physical, emotional, and psychological injuries.

The first suit involved an incident that occurred when the minor plaintiff was 12-years old and riding on a school bus operated by the defendant transportation company. The bus picked the child up from her home in the morning to take her and other students to middle school. While on the bus, a male special needs student directed the minor plaintiff to go to the back of the bus, where he ordered her to perform oral sex on him. During the entire time that the assault was occurring, the school bus driver and his assistant sat in the front of the bus, talking and listening to loud music.

After the sexual assault on the bus, the male student threatened the plaintiff with physical harm if she told anyone about what occurred. The male student then ordered her to meet him in a park later that day. Fearing for her life, the plaintiff did what she was told and met the boy at the park, where he forcibly raped her.

The second lawsuit related to an incident that occurred less than two years later in which another employee of defendant bus company allowed another sexual assault to be perpetrated on the minor plaintiff. Specifically, a driver for the company picked the plaintiff up from school with specific instructions to take her to her home. Instead, the driver dropped the plaintiff off at the home of a 16-year-old boy, where the two had sexual intercourse.

The complaints in both personal injury cases alleged that the transportation company and its drivers were negligent in failing to prevent the sexual assaults and breached their duty to monitor the plaintiff and safely transport her to and from school. Both lawsuits sought damages for severe mental and emotional distress, ongoing behavioral problems, and necessary medical and psychiatric care.

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