A former bus driver for Maine School Administrative District 15 is charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly hitting an autistic student.
Raymond Files, 58, is no longer an employee of the district, Superintendent Craig King said. He declined to comment further on the allegations.
A witness reported to the Saco Police Department that an assault involving a bus driver took place on Aug. 14 in Saco at the Margaret Murphy Centers for Children, a special needs school. A summons report for Files was provided to the Press Herald but was heavily redacted, and police said more information is not available because the prosecutor could request additional investigation.
The student’s mother relayed the incident as it had been described to her by school and police officials. Melissa Seavey, 46, said the bus driver asked her 19-year-old son Bradley to buckle his seatbelt. But he kept spinning it, a habit of his. Seavey said the driver then became angry and told her son not to act like that on his bus.
“He took his open hand and hit my son on the side of the head,” Melissa Seavey said.
Seavey said Bradley is nonverbal, so he could not tell her what happened. He lives in a group home in Gray, and SAD 15 buses him to the Margaret Murphy Center every day. An aide on the bus witnessed the encounter and reported it, Seavey said, and a security camera on the bus also recorded it. She said she learned what had happened when the SAD 15 special education director called her the next day. She said she did not want to watch the video because she was afraid it would be upsetting.
Seavey credited district officials with their response, saying they made the appropriate reports to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and to local police.
“I just really want people to know that you can’t fully trust anybody,” Seavey said. “You need to do your own research when you have people working with your nonverbal children.”
Her son has been more skittish recently, his mother said. When she was cutting his hair recently, Bradley pushed her hand away when she got to the part of his head that the bus driver allegedly hit.
“He thinks everybody is going to hit him now,” Seavey said. “He cringes.”
King has not yet responded to a public records request made Wednesday for a report of final disciplinary action against Files. He said Files started working for SAD 15 more than four years ago. Files’ last day of work there was Aug. 16, two days after the alleged assault.
A background check through the State Bureau of Identification shows that Files has been charged with a crime once before in Maine. In 1982, he was convicted of misdemeanor theft and fined $75. His driving record shows that he has held a commercial vehicle license in Maine since 1997.
Attempts to contact Files on Wednesday were not successful, and it is not clear whether he has a lawyer.
Files will appear in Biddeford District Court on Oct. 31. The charge is a Class D crime, which is punishable by up to 364 days’ incarceration and a $2,000 fine. The York County District Attorney’s Office did not return requests for comment.
Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: