Guilty plea is entered in choking Judge gives bus driver probation sentence in attack on student

August 13, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A part-time school bus driver at Chesapeake Bay Middle School in Pasadena pleaded guilty to assault and battery yesterday for choking a 14-year-old student during a dispute on a bus.

Henry Bieman, 72, of the 200 block of Severn Road, Millersville, entered an Alford plea of guilt as a result of the Dec. 13 incident at school.

An Alford plea means Bieman is not admitting guilt, but acknowledges that the state has enough evidence to convict him if he were tried.

Bieman was sentenced to five years' unsupervised probation by Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. and granted probation before judgment, which means the conviction will be stricken if he completes the probation.

Assistant State's Attorney Laura Kiessling said the victim, Carlester Allen, got on Bieman's bus after school looking for another student and then got off when he could not find the student.

The youth stood outside Bieman's bus for a short time, exchanged words with Bieman and then got on his own bus, Kiessling said. Bieman chased after him, accusing the youth of knocking the mirror mounted on the side of Bieman's bus, Kiessling said.

Bieman put both hands around the youth's neck and choked him, she said.

Kiessling said at least two other witnesses would have confirmed that Bieman went after the youth and threatened to "punch him in the face" if he ever touched his bus again.

Bieman's lawyer, Peter O'Neill, said Bieman was fired from the part-time job as a result of the incident. He said Bieman, a substitute bus driver for nine years, never had been arrested before.

Thieme ordered Bieman to pay $415 in court costs, but said there was no point to incarcerating him.

"I think the fact that he lost his job is punishment enough," the judge said.

But the victim's mother said she felt Bieman got off too lightly.

"He should've at least been given supervised probation and been required to be prohibited from working with children," said Melanie Hamilton, an officer for the state Division of Correction.

Hamilton said the only reason her son was on Bieman's bus that afternoon was because he was told by a teacher to get on it to search for another student.

She said her son will be a ninth-grader at Chesapeake High School. But she said the high school is in the same complex as the middle school, and her son is reluctant to go back to the same complex because of the incident.

Hamilton said Carlester fears he will not be fairly treated.

Pub Date: 8/13/96

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