Brooklyn DA Reopens Case Against Bus Matron Who ‘Tormented’ Autistic Boy
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island family was optimistic Thursday night that they will get long-awaited justice for their autistic son.
They said a bus matron taunted and tormented him as he injured himself while in her care.
CBS 2’s Dave Carlin has the details of a long-stalled case that’s finally moving forward.
“Every day is a nightmare…all this time later,” Paul Rossi said.
Time does not always heal, Rossi said, still furious six years after his autistic son, PJ, was allowed to repeatedly hurt himself on a New York City school bus.
Now, the long-delayed and repeatedly dismissed criminal charges against the bus matron have been revived by the Brooklyn district attorney.
Connie Clark was charged with misdemeanor child endangering after allegedly tormenting PJ instead of helping.
“He hasn’t been the same since that happened to him,” Rossi said.
The incident occurred in September 2005, while PJ was riding the bus to his Brooklyn school from the Rossis’ home in Huguenot.
PJ’s mother, allegedly already suspicious that something bad was happening on the bus, placed a tape recorder in PJ’s backpack, and it was rolling when he had an outburst.
PJ banged his head against the school bus window more than 50 times.
The audio tape caught everything the bus matron was saying to him, telling him to “shut up” and “knock it off.” Clark also called PJ a “knucklehead” and a “crazy kid.”
Clark, who was fired as bus matron six years ago, had no comment about the reopening of the case against her.
Her lawyer said the tape, once ruled inadmissible, will likely be played in court after all.
“She was frustrated by watching a child bang his head against the school bus window…and said things out of frustration that were maybe not ideal, maybe not pleasant, but certainly not criminal,” Clark’s attorney, Peter Tilem, said.
Rossi, who is also waging a civil suit against Clark and New York City, said Clark should have called him and 911. He said he’s glad the Brooklyn DA continued to press the case that gives his silent son a voice – and perhaps justice.