By Rebecca Henely
A Corona school bus driver was charged Friday with sexually abusing three girls aged 7 to 9 on his bus from September to November, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
“The charges are disturbing on so many levels,” Queens DA Richard Brown said in a release.
Nelson Painchault, 69, a bus driver with the private company Adrilliz Transport Inc., allegedly abused the three girls from Sept. 9 to Nov. 3, inappropriately touching the girls’ buttocks and vaginas over their clothing while he was driving them to and from their elementary school, the DA’s office said.
Painchault was charged with 18 counts of sexual abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, the DA’s office said. He was ordered held on $100,000 bail with the order to return to court Dec. 6, the DA’s office said. He faces up to seven years if convicted, the DA’s office said.
Painchault lives on 37th Avenue in Corona, the DA’s office said. He was a driver with Adrilliz, which operated out of Corona, for 11 years before being fired earlier this month, the DA’s office said. Painchault’s route included PS 19 at 98-02 Roosevelt Ave. in Corona, PS 28 at 109-10 47th Ave. in Corona, IS 5 at 50-40 Jacobus St. in Elmhurst and IS 73 at 70-02 54th Ave. in Maspeth, the DA’s office said.
Police sources said Painchault’s alleged crimes were discovered when a 7-year-old victim told her mother Painchault had touched her over her clothing several times in the past two months and the mother contacted the police. In the ensuing investigation, an 8-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl were identified, police said. These girls also said Painchault had touched them over their clothes, police said. Painchault was subsequently identified and questioned, police said.
“School bus drivers have a responsibility to safely transport the children under their care to school and thereafter return them to their parents,” Brown said. “The defendant is accused of betraying that trust by engaging in inappropriate contact with them. Such conduct cannot go unpunished.”
The DA’s office requested any others who believe Painchault may have abused them to contact the police’s Crimestoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.