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Student molested by bus driver sues East Irondequoit school district

Plaintiff claims perpetrator had history of similar behavior

By: Bennett Loudon//August 29, 2016

Student molested by bus driver sues East Irondequoit school district

Plaintiff claims perpetrator had history of similar behavior

By: Bennett Loudon//August 29, 2016

EAST IRONDEQUOITThe family of the victim of an alleged child molester is suing the perpetrator, Renaldo Vega, along with the East Irondequoit Central School District, where Vega worked as a bus driver, and several district officials.

The 49-page complaint was filed on Thursday by the parents of a girl who was a special-needs high school student at the time of the incident.

In addition to Vega and the school district, the defendants include: Superintendent Susan Allen; deputy superintendent John Abbott; assistant superintendent Phillip Oberst; and district transportation director Kathy Callon.

In December 2014, Vega was charged with three counts of forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child and fired.

According to Irondequoit Police, Vega befriended the student and touched her on several occasions during a bus run.

Vega pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced in October 2015 to three years of probation, according to the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.

“School defendants were aware or should have been aware of Vega’s propensity for engaging in such conduct,” the suit claims.

“In 2013, Vega was alleged to have acted in a manner injurious to a child who was less than 17 years of age,” the suit claims.

As a result, the suit claims, Vega was criminally charged on October 2013 and the school district was aware. Vega was placed on temporary administrative leave.

In that case, district officials did not follow their own protocol for investigating such allegation. The district did not interview Vega, the victim or any witnesses, the suit claims. About 10 days later, Vega was reinstated to his position as a bus driver, even though the criminal charges were still pending against him.

The outcome of the 2013 charges was not immediately available.

According to the lawsuit, district officials failed to properly train and supervise Vega and to thoroughly investigate his background.

Renaldo Vega
Renaldo Vega

Vega had been assigned to transport Jane Doe and one other student. After the other student was suspended because of poor behavior, Jane Doe was the only student transported by Vega.

“After the other student was no longer in the vehicle, Vega began a pattern of conduct that included sexual grooming, intimidating, inappropriate touching, sexually harassing, sexually abusing and sexually assaulting Jane Doe,” the suit claims.

Jane Doe told her parents about the alleged abuse, and Vega was arrested.

“Vega admitted to engaging in the conduct,” the suit claims.

In an email response to a request for comment, district spokesman David Yates said: “The School District strongly denies each and every allegation made against the school district and its employees. The school district shall vigorously defend itself and its employees in this litigation. Since this is pending litigation, the school district shall not make any additional statements related to this matter.”

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Robert King, said documents he obtained from a Freedom of Information Law request before filed the complaint showed the school district was notified by the Education Department in October 2013 that Vega had been arrested for endangering the welfare of a child in Rochester.

“Despite that knowledge they allowed him to remain a school bus driver,” King said. “They did, in our opinion, no investigation, or a cursory investigation, and reinstated him as a school bus driver while that case was still pending,” King said.

“The school district really knew that he was a risk, but kept him as a school bus driver anyway,” King said.

His investigation showed there had been a “sealed resolution” to that case.


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