Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MA: No charges in alleged Mashpee bus abuse

MASHPEE - The Mashpee police department has elected not to pursue charges in the case of alleged child abuse by a local bus monitor, police chief Rodney Collins announced this afternoon.

Last week a Mashpee woman, the parent of an 8-year-old autistic child, reported to police that her daughter had been assaulted April 6 on a Cape Cod Collaborative bus on the ride home from school.

After reviewing the bus security tape, however, investigators determined that there are no grounds for criminal charges.

The video tape, played by police this afternoon at a press conference, showed that the monitor punished the child for spitting by forcibly taking a card from the child’s hand and pulling a sweatshirt hood over the child’s head.

“This is all much ado about nothing,” Collins said after showing the tape. “There was no slapping. There was no punching. There was no level of force used that was being described in the initial allegations.”

The child has a recorded habit of spitting and the mother had previously agreed to this form of punishment in the child’s behavior plan, Collins said.

But the mother disagrees, saying that she never agreed to any plan that allowed the bus monitor to make contact with her child.

“That is 100 percent false,” the mother said today of the reports that she had agreed to the punishment. “(The monitor) was supposed to ignore her for one week. Never in a million years would I say it’s OK for them to touch my child.”

The child has returned to school and continues to take the bus with a different bus driver, her mother said.

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