US attorney says bus driver’s plea in child porn, assault case avoided painful trial for parents, children

Posted Sept. 16, 2012, at 9:25 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 16, 2012, at 12:42 p.m.

MILTON, N.H. — The guilty plea of a former bus driver accused of sexually assaulting young disabled boys from Maine and New Hampshire and recording the acts using hidden cameras saved the children involved and their parents from a painful trial, according to U.S. Attorney John Kacavas.

But while he’s pleased to see sentencing in the future for the defendent, Kacavas said “there can never be vindication” for crimes of this nature.

“What I’m grateful for, and this is not gratitude directed toward the defendant, but what I’m grateful for is the fact that these parents, of these poor victims, do not have to suffer or endure the prospect of a trial,” he said, “and that the jurors that we would pick are spared — from having to view the evidence in this case. If I have any sort of comment on the development, that’s it.”

Wright, 46, previously of 52A Charles St., was arrested on Sept. 1, 2011, and charged with sexually assaulting three minors, all young disabled boys who used Provider Bus Services, and had Wright as their Seacoast bus driver, who operated out of Dover, N.H., and Kittery, Maine.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force had been investigating Wright’s felonious activity since February 2011. That investigation led authorities to issue a search warrant for Wright’s home last fall, where computers and peripherals were seized with thousands of graphic assault images on them, including several videos of Wright attacking the victims.

Officials concluded Wright used hidden cameras in pens and sunglasses to record students aboard his bus, while he was sexually assaulting them, and even to record other students who were simply riding along.

Kacavas explained Wright’s plea out of U. S. District Court in Concord, N.H., last Tuesday was not a surprise but rather, a “naked plea,” where he came forward with an admission to his actions without any sort of bargain or negotiation from the Department of Justice.

A guilty plea means up to 160 years in prison for Wright, who has admitted to videotaping his victims while sexually assaulting them, and distributing those videos, as per the indictment handed down last October.

“We were just not willing to compromise our charges with the defendant,” Kacavas explained. “In light of the fact we did not reach agreement, he pled guilty.”

The ages of the boys at the time of molestation were 4, 5 and 8, though Kacavas could not say whether the boys’ families had privately contracted with Provider Services previously. He added Wright drove the boys to and from their residences to day care locations and special education classes.

Two of the boys, according to the indictment, were assaulted in New Hampshire between November 2010 and April 30, 2011. The third boy, from Maine, was allegedly assaulted in July 2011.

Kacavas said two of the victims have autism and the third victim has a developmental disability that causes “communication issues” for him.

Strafford County Attorney Tom Velardi previously told Foster’s the evidence in Wright’s case is some of the worst he has ever seen. Wright also has a scheduled court appearance at Strafford County Superior Court for Oct. 1, for a status conference in his state case, for charges related to assaulting the victims, but Velardi said if the sentencing is severe enough on the federal level, the case may be resolved entirely out of District Court.

Kacavas added although he could not disclose his communications with the victims’ families, he said his work with them has gone smoothly.

“I can tell you we’ve had very cordial and a good working relationship with the families,” Kacavas said.

He said the families may choose to come forward and speak at Wright’s sentencing hearing, scheduled for Dec. 20 in U. S. District Court, as well.

Wright continues to be jailed at the Strafford County House of Corrections.

© 2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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