A Mamaroneck School District bus driver was arrested by Mamaroneck Village police on Thursday, May 27 and charged with “sexual conduct against a child in the first degree,” a class B felony. According to the police, Jorge D. Hernandez, 49, of Union Avenue in Mamaroneck Village, engaged in at least two sexual acts with a girl younger than 11 from March of 1998 through 2001.
According to Tracy Everson, spokesperson for the Westchester District Attorney, the allegation “has no relation to his job as a school bus driver.”
Nevertheless, pending results of further investigation, the school administration has reassigned Mr. Hernandez to his home and prohibited him from coming on school property.
The arrest was ”initiated with the courage of the victim coming forward,” said Lt. James Gaffney, spokesperson for the Mamaroneck Village police. The department worked with the Westchester District Attorney’s office on the investigation.
Ms. Everson said the victim was between 7 and 13 at the time of the alleged molestation by Mr. Hernandez.
Mr. Hernandez was arraigned before Judge Richard Lanza on May 28. The judge set bail for $250,000 and issued an order that the defendant stay away from the alleged victim. Mr. Hernandez was remanded to the Westchester County Jail.
In a release on June 2, the district noted that the alleged felony occurred more than ten years ago, prior to Mr. Hernandez’ employment with the schools. A pre-employment background check “came out clean,” according to the release.
Mr. Hernandez was hired by the district on May 14, 2007, according to Debbie Manetta, public information officer for the district. She said there had been no complaints made to the personnel department about him.
Statute of Limitations?
Although the crime is alleged to have occurred almost ten years ago, the statute of limitations has not expired. New York State has a five year statute of limitations for any kind of sexual assault or molestation, however in cases involving children, the clock does not begin until the victim reaches age 18.
Going by the few details released by the police and the district attorney, the victim is now between 22 and 23, close to when the limit would be reached.
Yesterday, a New York State Senate committee killed a bill already passed by the Assembly that would have suspended the statute of limitations on sexual offenses for one year and allowed victims to file suit, no matter how long ago the alleged offense was committed.