In Bedford County, Virginia, a school bus driver and an aide are being named in a shocking $20 million lawsuit that claims the two abused Timothy Kilpatrick, a young autistic boy, back in 2009.
The women, Alice Davis Holland (the bus driver) and Mary Alice Evans (a special education bus aide) were convicted of assault and battery following the incident, but it seems new problems for the two former district employees are on the horizon.
According to allegations, the Holland and Evans had repeatedly physically abused the then 11-year-old boy. Ryan Edwards, a spokesperson for Bedford County Schools, says that neither of the women have been employed by the district since September of 2009. And WSLS.com has more about the legal penalty they faced for the allegations waged against them:
Holland, of Bedford County, was sentenced to one month of active jail time and another 11 months of suspended time. Evans, of Bedford, received two months of active jail time and 10 months of a suspected sentence.
Interestingly, while the two were charged with misdemeanor assault, a prosecutor dropped a separate felony child abuse charge. Now, the child's family is taking action of their own.
Allegations and convictions are one thing, but video footage is another. Lawyers for the boy's father, Thomas Kilpatrick, were apparently able to secure a disturbing bus video through Freedom of Information Act requests. In it, the driver or her assistant can be seen hitting the child with a fly swatter, while at other times choking, kicking and beating him with their bare hands.
Watch the disturbing footage for yourself:
In the 2009 clip, young Timothy, who is now 14 years old and whose autism is so severe that he can barely speak, seems to be crying out. At times, be moves his arms and legs, seemingly trying to stop the women from touching him. In this particular incident, the child was strapped to his seat with a double harness, which didn't allow for much movement.
While the boy's father claims that he attempted to let authorities know about the abuse well before it was discovered, he claims they didn't listen. The Times Dispatch reports:
Kilpatrick, though, said he had brought concerns to school officials nearly a year earlier after his son started showing signs of injuries and fears about riding the bus. Tapes of incidents during that time could not be located, according to the suit.
The father said Wednesday during a phone interview that he was unable to get school personnel to respond to concerns that his son was being harmed when he first reported in November 2008 that Timothy was coming home with bruises and scratch marks on his arms and face.
The lawsuit being launched by the Kilpatrick family names, as defendants, the Bedford County School Board, the two women on the bus, and Sara Staton -- the director of special service for the school district.
In the complaint, the family alleges that Timothy was denied equal access to and enjoyment of the transportation system. Of course, the fact that their son was forced to fear physical and psychological threats to his well-being when riding the bus is also mentioned.