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Hudson Valley Press

September 18th, 2013

School bus sex abuse victim files court claim

MIDDLETOWN – As a parent, attorney Craig Phemister is "enraged" over the case of four boys ages six and seven being forced to perform sex acts on a Newburgh school bus by a 10-year-old boy.

"This one particularly hit home with me," Phemister said. An attorney with the Middletown law firm of Sobo and Sobo, Phemister said he has filed a notice of claim in State Supreme Court representing one of the small victims.

"As a parent you believe that your kids are safe at school. The district has done an extraordinary job in making schools safe," he said. "I have been there. It is difficult to get anywhere and no kids are allowed to walk around the schools by themselves, but once you get outside the school and on the bus, as this case indicates, it is a free-for-all."

The young victims on the bus were all allegedly bullied and threatened by the older boy while riding on a school bus between home and an elementary school in the Enlarged Newburgh City School District last spring. The case surfaced when the parent of one of the boys noticed signs of bullying, said Phemister.

The lawyer said the State Police are investigating possible criminal charges and have confiscated a videotape of the incidents. There were three video recorders on the bus that captured the incidents, which Phemister termed pornographic.

He said while the school district has done a good job at protecting children within the schools, it failed on the bus. He questioned why the driver on the West Point Tours bus, who must have observed the boys congregating in the back of the bus day in and day out, did not look at the video recordings.

The notice of claim seeks unspecified monetary damages and charges of sexual harassment against the suspected bully.

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