ABC 13 reported on the allegations and charges against Tomas Rosario, a former driver employed by Monroe Transportation Services and contracted by the Rochester City School District (RCSD) in Rochester, NY.
The charges against the 74 year old, who worked as a driver for RCSD last year, are nothing short of alarming. A 13 year old victim recently accused him of engaging in inappropriate conduct and potential abuse while transporting her home from school. The girl alleged that he touched her inappropriately several times and had discussions sexual in nature. These reports were made in March, upon which the district immediately fired the bus driver. Aside from the sexual assault charges, Rosario is charged with possessing child pornography on his mobile phone.
In light of the recent allegations against school bus driver, Tomas Rosario, we reached out to Laurence Banville, Esq. Laurence is a renowned sexual abuse attorney based in New York. During our conversation, we discussed the options available to survivors of grooming and sexual abuse when filing lawsuits for victims sexually abused by a bus driver.
Darla Medina (DM): Mr. Banville, thank you for joining us today to shed light on this crucial topic. Given your experience in handling cases of sexual abuse, what recourse do survivors have when it comes to pursuing civil cases against individuals or entities that enabled abuse during school transportation?
Laurence Banville, Esq. (LB): Thank you for having me, Darla. Survivors of school sexual abuse may have legal options to seek justice through civil litigation. These cases can target not only the abusers themselves but also the entities or individuals who allowed the abuse to occur, such as transportation companies, school districts, or even individual school personnel responsible for oversight.
DM: How can survivors determine if they have a viable civil case?
LB: Survivors should consult with an experienced sexual abuse attorney who can evaluate their case and determine its viability. It's essential to gather evidence, including any documentation, eyewitness accounts, or photographs, and provide as much detail as possible about the incidents and the entities or individuals involved. A knowledgeable attorney can assess the evidence, guide survivors through the legal process, and help them understand their rights and potential legal avenues.
DM: What are the potential legal claims survivors may pursue in these cases?
LB: Survivors can pursue various legal claims, depending on the circumstances. Some common claims include negligence, premises liability, vicarious liability, and negligent hiring or supervision. The focus is often on demonstrating that the entity or individual failed to provide adequate security measures, failed to properly screen and supervise employees, or failed to respond appropriately to reports or suspicions of abuse.
DM: How do civil cases differ from criminal cases in situations like these?
LB: Criminal cases are brought by the state or federal government to punish individuals who have committed crimes. Civil cases, on the other hand, are separate legal actions initiated by survivors seeking compensation for the harm they have suffered. In civil cases, survivors have the opportunity to hold entities or individuals accountable for their role in enabling the abuse and seek financial compensation for damages such as medical expenses, therapy costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
DM: Are there any legal challenges survivors may face when pursuing civil cases related to sex crimes taking place during transportation to and from school?
LB: Unfortunately, survivors may encounter various legal challenges during the process. These can include statutes of limitations, which limit the time within which a case can be filed, and issues related to the gathering and preservation of evidence. However, it's important for survivors to consult with an attorney as soon as possible, as there are legal strategies and exceptions that may apply in their specific circumstances.
DM: What advice do you have for survivors who may be considering pursuing a civil case?
LB: First and foremost, survivors should prioritize their well-being and seek appropriate support from mental health professionals or support groups specializing in trauma and abuse. They should then consult with an experienced sexual abuse attorney who can provide guidance tailored to their specific situation. It's important for survivors to understand their legal rights, the potential challenges they may face, and the available options for seeking justice.
DM: Thank you, Mr. Banville, for providing valuable insights on this important topic and shedding light on the legal options available to survivors of sexual abuse.
LB: It was my pleasure, Darla. I hope that survivors find the strength and support they need to pursue justice and healing. It's crucial that we continue to raise awareness about these issues and work towards creating safer environments for our children.