PITTSBURGH – The parent of a severely physical and intellectually disabled student is suing Pittsburgh Public Schools and others after a bus driver that transported students to the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh pleaded guilty to sexual assault and other crimes.
According to the Oct. 16 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, H.B., by and through Patricia F., her parent and legal guardian, filed a civil action against Pittsburgh Public Schools; The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh; Paul Brown Inc., doing business as Professional Limousine Service; and Lavalle Tucker. The plaintiff claims violation of her daughter's constitutional and Pennsylvania Common Law rights, negligence and infliction of emotional distress.
The suit states H.B. has attended The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh since 2009 and is generally unable to communicate without the use of technological assistance. In September 2017, Tucker was assigned as H.B.'s bus driver, the suit states.
Patricia F. alleges that she made several complaints to The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh about its drop-off policy and/or procedure and it failed to take any action. She alleges in December, Tucker touched H.B. in a sexual manner.
The suit states in May, Tucker pleaded guilty to "indecent assault of a person with mental disabilities, indecent assault through forcible compulsion, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children, students and employees," according to the suit.
"The failure of defendants PPS, PLS and Institute to take action regarding Patricia F.’s complaints, despite their actual knowledge of safety issues presented during plaintiff’s trips to and from defendant Institute, created the opportunity for injury and harm to the plaintiff, as described herein before above, that would not have existed but for the failures of defendants PPS, PLS and Institute," the suit states.
The plaintiff seeks compensatory, general, and special damages, including litigation costs. The plaintiff is represented by Joel Sansone, Massimo Terzigni and Elizabeth Tuttle of Law Offices of Joel Sansone in Pittsburgh.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case number 2:19-cv-01326