A former bus driver for School Administrative District 15 pleaded not guilty Wednesday to allegedly hitting an autistic student.

Raymond Files, 58, is charged with misdemeanor assault. He has not worked for the school district since Aug. 16, two days after the alleged incident. SAD 15 includes Gray and New Gloucester.

“Right now, I’m not guilty,” Files said to a reporter as he walked to the clerk’s window.

He and his attorney later declined to comment on the case as they left the courthouse Wednesday.

A witness reported to Saco police that an assault involving a bus driver took place Aug. 14 while the bus was in Saco at the Margaret Murphy Centers for Children, a special-needs school.

The York County District Attorney’s Office denied a request Wednesday for records in the case, including a video, saying they are confidential.

The student’s mother did not want to watch the video but relayed the incident as it had been described to her by school and police officials. Melissa Seavey, 46, said the bus driver asked her 19-year-old son Bradley to buckle his seatbelt. But he kept spinning it, a habit of his. Seavey said the driver then became angry and told her son not to act like that on his bus.

“He took his open hand and hit my son on the side of the head,” she told the Portland Press Herald in September.

Seavey said her son is nonverbal, so he could not tell her what happened. He lives in a group home in Gray, and SAD 15 was busing him to the Margaret Murphy Center every day. An aide on the bus witnessed the encounter and reported it, Seavey said, and the video is from a security camera on the bus. She has credited school officials with their quick response to the alleged incident.

Seavey said Wednesday that an aide struck her son years ago, but police did not act on her report. So she said she was glad to see Files charged with a crime, and she said she wants to see him receive the harshest penalty possible if convicted. The charge is a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days incarceration and a $2,000 fine.

“I feel like if he got a lower sentence, it would look like it was not a big deal, like it was a traffic ticket,” Seavey said. “I think he should be made an example of.”

Her son was skittish after the alleged assault, Seavey said, but he has been doing better in the months since. She wished she could bring him to court, but said it would be too overwhelming for him. He no longer attends school, and she is considering options for tutoring. She planned to go straight to his home when she left the courthouse to tell him about the hearing.

“He understands that Mom’s taking care of what needs to be taken care of,” she said.

A background check through the State Bureau of Identification shows that Files had been charged with a crime once before in Maine. In 1982, he was convicted of misdemeanor theft and fined $75. His driving record shows that he has held a commercial vehicle license in Maine since 1997.

The next court date for Files is a dispositional conference on Dec. 18.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

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