Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bus driver charged with sexually assaulting six female passengers

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - The Pittsburgh Tribune reports that a 74-year-old male driver for the bus firm First Student (formerly Laidlaw) has been charged with sexually assaulting six of his female passengers over a three-year-period. The ages of the women, all of whom have developmental disabilities, range between 27 and 52. According to police complaints,

all six victims were picked up by the bus or van at their residences and were delivered to therapy or training facilities in the morning and then returned home in the afternoon.

During either the morning trip to the victims' place of therapy or training facility, or the trip home to residences, Lizza would pull the bus off the road, into a parking area or other area, and sexually molest, fondle and assault one or more of the victims."

Paul A Lizza, who was employed as a part time substitute driver for the bus firm and has since been suspended, has been charged with six counts each of indecent assault on a person with a mental disability, indecent contact without consent and institutional sexual assault. He has been released on $5,000 bail and a preliminary hearing has been set for March 3 2009.

According to Nicole Jones, a spokesperson for First Student, the bus firm has "the most stringent employee check and re-check screening programs in the industry in the world," adding that according to their information, Paul Lizza had a clean record.

Yet according to one of the witnesses interviewed by police, these assaults "have been going on for years."

Something, then, or someone, has failed these women. Where is the problem?