The owner of a schoolbus company that transports students in Revere, Chelsea, and East Boston is facing charges that he sexually molested one of his passengers, a 5-year-old Everett girl, authorities said today.
Sergio Lara, 53, was arraigned Thursday in Chelsea District Court where he pleaded not guilty to one count of rape of a child and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 16. Bail was set at $100,000 cash, according to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office.
According to prosecutors and Revere police, Lara allegedly sexually assaulted the girl on Tuesday while he was transporting her home from school. The girl reported the attack to her mother, who rushed the child to an area hospital and summoned police.
Following an investigation, Lara was identified as the child’s attacker and arrested, prosecutors said.
“Too often, the victims of abuse are afraid or ashamed to disclose what happened, but this child did exactly the right thing,” Conley said in a statement.
He added that the girl's “telling her parents right away allowed investigators to take rapid action and have him held on high bail. She’s a smart, brave little girl.”
Prosecutors identified Lara’s company as Maya Transportation.
Chelsea attorney Matthew J. Machera, who represented Lara at his arraignment but is no longer his lawyer, today summarized what he said in court on Lara’s behalf. Lara, according to Machera, is a Guatemalan immigrant who is now an American citizen.
He said Lara worked for a metal company in Everett for 13 years before starting Maya Transportation. Lara, Machera said, is the father of three “great kids” who are now adults and Lara is a homeowner who lives in Quincy.
“He never been charged with anything remotely like this,’’ Machera said. “He steadfastly maintains his innocence. By all accounts, he seems like a hardworking, great family guy.’’
According to prosecutors, if Lara posts bail he is under court order to “stay away from the victim and her family, stay out of the presence of children under 16 unless their parents are present, refrain from any employment that would place him in contact with children under 16, surrender all travel documents, remain in Massachusetts, and wear a GPS monitoring device.’’
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