2009-05-01 / Front Page

Bus Aide Charged With Sexual Abuse

By Nicholas Briano

An Edgemere school bus aide was arrested this week for allegedly fondling a nineyear old boy on a bus, and was later found with a stash of child porn on his cell phone, according to police.

Darnell Washington, 20, of 636 Beach 22 Street, has been charged with first-degree sexual abuse, possessing a sexual performance by a child and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly sexually molesting the boy on the school bus earlier this week.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, the school bus was at the intersection of Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 73 Street at about 7:50 a.m., this Monday, when Washington asked the boy to play a game, in which Washington reached inside of the front of the boy's pants and sexually abused him. Washington then allegedly reached into the back of the boy's pants and rubbed his buttocks. In addition, he allegedly showed the boy a photograph of a nude young girl on his cell phone. Following his arrest, police confiscated the phone and allegedly found dozens of stored child pornography pictures.

The boy went home and told his parents what Washington allegedly did, leading to the arrest later in the day, according to Brown.

Washington, who works for Philippe and Elmer Transportation, was arraigned on Tuesday night before Queens Criminal Court Judge Ira Margulis. He was held on $200,000 bail and will return to court on May 18. If convicted, Washington could face up to seven years in prison.

"The charges are very disturbing. As a school bus aide, the defendant's responsibilities are to ensure the safety of students to and from school. Instead, the defendant is accused of turning a ride to school into a terrifying sexual ordeal for a young boy," Brown said.

The District Attorney's Special Victims Bureau will prosecute the case.

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